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28 February 2006

French cuisine

TOP: An informal soup kitchen
near Gare de l'Est station in Paris.
The organizers, politically right-wing,
have been criticized because the soup
is made with pork, which they use partly
to keep away new Muslim immigrants.
(Jacques Brinon / Associated Press)

BOTTOM: Odile Bonnivard, a leader
of the community supplying the soup.
(Associated Press Television Network)

SUBECT: more ZB bad news

Dear Bob,

Bad news about the Zeta Beam. It needs a new 83J40922B tube, and the soonest we can get one from the supplier on Hoon and have it installed is around Easter Sunday (16 April). I'm really sorry you're stuck on Earth until then. We all miss you in Ciudad Vleep, especially during Carnival.

Meanwhile buddy, my advice is to try to distract yourself with the nicer things Earth has to offer -- delicious food, good wine, good fellowship. I know you're having rough times down there, but these things always do it for me when times get weird.

Hang in there, see ya around Easter.


Margaret Xxxxxxxe
Infrastructure Chief Engineer
Akira Kurosawa Zeta Beam Drome
Ciudad Vleeptron


The New York Times (USA)
Tuesday 28 February 2006

Poor and Muslim? Jewish?
Soup Kitchen
Is Not for You.


PARIS, Feb. 27 --
More than 200 political demonstrators defied a police ban here on Thursday, scurrying across Boulevard St.-Germain and under the sycamore trees of Place Maubert to engage in their forbidden action: eating "pig soup" in public.

With steaming bowls of the fragrant broth soon passing through the crowd, Odile Bonnivard, a short-haired secretary turned far-right firebrand, climbed atop a dark sedan with a megaphone in hand and led the crowd in a raucous chant: "We are all pig eaters! We are all pig eaters!"

Identity soup, as the broth has come to be called, is one of the stranger manifestations of a growing grass-roots backlash against the multiculturalism that has spread through Europe over the past 20 years. People are increasingly challenging the care taken in Nazi-chastened Europe, and in France in particular, to avoid the sort of racial or religious insults that led to widespread protests in the Muslim world this month after wide publication of cartoons considered offensive to the Prophet Muhammad.

The movement began in the winter of 2003 when Ms. Bonnivard, a member of a small far-right nationalist movement called the Identity Bloc, began serving hot soup to the homeless. At first, she said, the group used pork simply because it was an inexpensive traditional ingredient for hearty French soup. But after the political significance of serving pork dawned on them and others, it quickly became the focus of their work.

Made with smoked bacon, pigs' ears, pigs' feet and pigs' tails together with assorted vegetables and sausages, the soup [soupe au cochon, the group's rallying cry and website motto] is meant to make a political statement: "Help our own before others."

The "others," Ms. Bonnivard explained, are non-European immigrants who she and her colleagues on the far right say are sopping up scarce resources that ought to be used for descendants of the Continent's original inhabitants. In other words, the soup is meant to exclude those who do not eat pork -- for the most part, Muslims and Jews.

"Other communities don't hesitate to help their own, so why can't we?" she asked, noting that Europe's Islamic charities serve halal food to disadvantaged Muslims and that its Jewish charities operate kosher soup kitchens.

Fair enough, one might argue, but this is France, where there is little tolerance for anything that challenges the republic's egalitarian ideals.

The authorities initially left the pork-soup kitchen alone, shutting it down only once to avoid an altercation with a group of indignant French leftists. Then came the riots that swept France in October and November last year, waking the government to the deep alienation felt by Muslim youth. As winter closed in and other pork-soup kitchens run by similar-minded groups popped up in Strasbourg and Nice -- and in Brussels, Antwerp and Charleroi in Belgium -- authorities worried that they might be witnessing the start of a dangerous racist-tinged trend.

In December, Ms. Bonnivard said, a van of plainclothes police chased her soup-bearing car through the streets, and several busloads of officers arrived to stop her group from setting up at their usual spot near the Montparnasse train station, citing "the discriminatory nature of the soup."

She and her fellow soup servers filed an appeal. A Paris police spokesman said the appeal was pending and would be decided "on the basis of the current regulations, in particular concerning risks to public order and incitement to racial hatred."

They have been playing cat and mouse with the authorities since then.

Ms. Bonnivard talks glowingly of the camaraderie engendered by her group's gatherings, whose motive, she said, is to defend European culture and identity. "Our freedom in France is being threatened," she said. "If we prefer European civilization and Christian culture, that's our choice."

Even newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe are more welcome than Muslims from North Africa, she said, a sentiment shared by some of the diners.

"At least here there are people who are of the same mind as me," said a woman named Hélène, 61, who is not homeless but comes for soup because she has little money left for food after paying her rent. "The French, and the Europeans in general, roll over for foreigners, and particularly Islam."

This being France, most soup kitchens provide the downtrodden with a complete French dinner, including cheese and dessert. Ms. Bonnivard's group even throws in a glass of red wine with every meal.

"The only condition required for dining with us: eat pork," reads the group's Web site, which bears the image of a wanted poster for a cartoon pig in a pot framed by the words, "Wanted, Cooked or Raw, Public Disturbance No. 1."

The police initially granted permission for the "European solidarity feast" that Ms. Bonnivard's and the other right-wing soup kitchens planned last Thursday. But the authorities called late Wednesday evening to say the permission had been revoked. Officers appeared at Ms. Bonnivard's apartment at 6 a.m. Thursday to deliver a written notice prohibiting the pork-eating rally.

By evening, four police vans filled with anti-riot police officers were waiting at the group's designated meeting point outside a conservative Roman Catholic church while Ms. Bonnivard and her associates huddled in a nearby cafe, plotting diversionary tactics so they could serve their soup before the police could intervene.

"They're more afraid of us than any march by Islamists or Jews," Ms. Bonnivard's husband, Roger, declared as people slurped soup around him. (In the end, despite the official ban, the police did not intervene.)

Bruno Gollnisch, the silver-haired No. 2 in the far-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, mingled in the crowd, calling the "persecution" of the soup kitchen a "betrayal of the French identity." Others handed out slices of oily sausage as flags bearing the French fleur-de-lis fluttered overhead. There wasn't a police officer in sight.

"We're not yet living in a land of Islam," Ms. Bonnivard bellowed from atop the sedan.

- 30 -

Happy Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras! Happy Carnival!

a papier mache doll
of German Chancellor Angela Merkel
as dominatrix rides through the streets
of Köln/Cologne Deutschland/Germany
Monday during Carnival. (Deutsche Welle)

[Vleeptron and Yankee Magnetic Software wish everyone a Happy Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras, and a spiritually renewing Lent. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Easter Sunday will be 16 April. We particulary wish everyone has managed to make it to some raucous, anarchic festival, and we send out Very Special Mardi Gras Wishes to the People of New Orleans, Louisiana, and those who have come to help them celebrate their first Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina.]

Monday 27 February 2006

Anything goes
at German carnival
-- except religion

by Karin Strohecker

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) -- Picture German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a dominatrix, the American eagle with bird flu and the Iranian President in the shape of a nuclear bomb.

At carnival time in Germany anything goes -- except, this year, mocking religion, a victim of the world-wide controversy over cartoons of the Prophet.

Millions of Narren or jesters took to the streets on Monday to party, dance and cheer as parades mocking politicians and poking fun at contemporary issues wound through big cities.

In Cologne, home to Europe's biggest carnival parade, some 1,300,000 people filled the streets, singing along with marching bands and jumping up to catch candy swirling through the air while keeping a tight grip on their beer bottles.

"Everything is allowed at this time of year and it's a blast. We are thoroughly enjoying it," said Daniel Kretschmer, who came from Hamburg dressed as a nun to watch the parade.

"All year long we have to listen to politicians preaching to us. This is finally a chance to get back at them."

While political satire is encouraged, Cologne revellers took care not to cross the line and religion was a declared no-go zone amid a row over caricatures of the Prophet published first in a Danish newspaper that sparked world-wide protest.

Jacques Tilly, mastermind behind the parade in Duesseldorf that attracted 1 million people, said he regretted the limitation while acknowledging the situation had changed.

"Religion is in my eyes a delusion and hence should be mocked," he said. "The humour depicted on the floats simply needs to have some bite otherwise there is little point."

But one of Duesseldorf float depicted Pope Benedict wearing the jersey of the city's battered soccer club Fortuna.

And on another float two jesters carried a coffin written "Freedom of Opinion" with a sabre stuck in.


Iran, which the West believes is pursuing a nuclear weapon, featured high on Tilly's agenda with one float depicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the shape of an atomic bomb.

Last year, Tilly sparked an outcry when he depicted Catholic Cardinal Joachim Meisner setting fire to a woman tied to the stake, with the words "I had an abortion" written on her dress.

But people applauded in 2003 when the parade showed Merkel, then in opposition, coming out of Uncle Sam's backside -- a comment on her perceived support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

This year cheers and laughter erupted in Cologne as a float with a huge Merkel puppet in a tight latex suit cracked a whip -- a symbol of the new chancellor's efforts to waken Germany from economic slumber.

On another float a sickly looking American Eagle lay on its back, thermometer in mouth, with an ice-bag in the form of a deflated globe on its head.

U.S. President George Bush is shown stumbling from one disaster, titled "New Orleans", into another labelled "nuclear conflict." "Iraq" and "Kyoto Protocol" trail behind him.

The German carnival is a version of the Mardi Gras festivals held in different parts of the world including New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.

In Cologne, Europe's biggest carnival event, the parade featured more than 124 marching bands, 100 floats and 10,000 people distributing some 150 tonnes of candy.

Soccer is another hot topic in a city that will host five games during the World Cup starting in June, but religion was off limits.

"It is just not normal at the Cologne Rose Monday parade to be blasphemous," said Sigrid Krebs, spokeswoman for the Cologne Carnival Committee.

Copyright © Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Monday 27 February 2006

1,000,000 Revelers
Line Streets of Cologne
for Carnival

The World Cup was the theme, but revelers also poked fun at the bird flu crisis as one million people took to the streets of Cologne on Monday for the biggest carnival of the season in Germany.

The Rose Monday parade is the high point of a week of festivities which sees Germans letting down their hair, donning silly costumes and consuming liberal quantities of sweets and beer.

People braved freezing temperatures in Cologne to line the seven-kilometer (four-mile) route of the parade to catch a glimpse of the 96 floats which began rolling at the traditional time of 11:11 am.

"Carnival is part of life, like eating and drinking. You should never miss carnival, even if there is rain and snow," said Gisela Gehlen, 66, who was part of a group of women waiting to see their grandchildren on one of the floats.

The nearby cities of Düsseldorf and Mainz also held carnival parades on Monday, attended by hundreds of thousands.

No bird flu blues in Cologne

It's loud, it's kitchy and everybody loves it

In line with the generally irreverent atmosphere, some revelers in Cologne donned face masks and what appeared to be white chemical protection suits marked with the words "I will survive H5N1" to poke fun at the stringent measures introduced following the recent outbreak of bird flu in several German regions.

One man dressed as a bird wore a notice saying "I have been vaccinated."

With the World Cup kicking off in just over 100 days, many revelers wore football jerseys or black and white hats to resemble balls.


Wolfram Teggen, a 46-year-old reveler from Cologne, went one step further, dressing in an oversized green tunic made to look like a soccer pitch.

"I am not even a football fan. I'll just be glad if Germany gets through the first round, but I don't think they'll reach the final," he said.

Pure fun

The carnival season is considered to be a "fifth season of the year."

Sweets and chocolates rained down on the crowd from the floats, as marching bands played music that was upbeat if not always in tune.

Carnival is a tradition stemming from Catholic regions in the west and south of Germany, but it is rapidly being adopted by cities in the north and east, such as in Berlin where 500,000 people gathered for a parade on Sunday.

It is held before the Christian season of Lent, which starts on Wednesday.

the relationship between art, children, and chewing (or maybe bubble) gum

"The Bay" (1963) by Helen Frankenthaler
Copyright © 1996 The Detroit Institute of Arts

The Associated Press
Tuesday 28 February 2006

Boy, 12, sticks gum
on $1,500,000
Detroit museum painting

DETROIT -- The Detroit Institute of Arts is stuck with having to repair a painting worth $1,500,000.

It has to remove a stain left by a wad of gum stuck on the painting by a 12-year-old visitor.

It happened Friday. Museum officials said the boy was with a group from Holly Academy in Oakland County, Mich., when he took the gum out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler's 1963 abstract painting "The Bay."

The gum didn't stick to the fiber of the canvas, but left a stain the size of a quarter. Museum experts are researching the chemicals in the gum to decide how to clean the painting.

Holly Academy director Julie Kildee said the boy had been suspended from the charter school and said his parents also have disciplined him.

"Even though we give very strict guidelines on proper behavior and we hold students to high standards, he is only 12 and I don't think he understood the ramifications of what he did before it happened, but he certainly understands the severity of it now," said Kildee.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

paragraphs 52-80 from Leibniz' "The Monadology"

Mechanical calculator
invented by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz,
philosopher and co-discoverer (with Newton)
of the differential and integral calculus.
It works, and is one of the direct
ancestors of the modern digital computer.

The Monadology
by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Written in French, 1714

German translation 1720, Latin 1721
This, by Robert Latta in 1898, is the first English translation.

52. Accordingly, among created things, actions and passions are mutual. For God, comparing two simple substances, finds in each reasons that oblige him to accommodate the other to it, and consequently what is active in certain respects is passive from another point of view; active insofar as what is known distinctly in it serves to explain what happens in another, and passive insofar as the reason for what takes place in it is found in what is distinctly known in another. (sec. 66)

53. Now, as there is an infinity of possible universes in the Ideas of God, and as only one of them can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God's choice, which determines him toward one rather than another. (secs. 8, 10, 44, 173, 196 sqq., 225, 414-416)

54. And this reason can be found only in the fitness, or the degrees of perfection, that these worlds contain, since each possible thing has the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection it involves. (secs. 74, 167, 350, 201, 130, 352, 345 sqq., 354)

55. And this is the cause of the existence of the best, which God knows through his wisdom, chooses through his goodness, and produces through his power. (secs. 8, 78, 80, 84, 119, 204, 206, 208; Summary, Objs. 1, 8)

56. Now this connection or accommodation of all created things to each and of each to all the others, means that each simple substance has relations that express all the others, and, consequently, that it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe. (sec. 130, 360.)

57. And just as the same town looked at from different sides appears completely different, and as if multiplied in perspective, so through the infinite multitude of simple substances, it is as if there were so many different universes, which nevertheless are only perspectives on a single universe, according to the different point of view of each monad. (sec. 147)

58. And by this means there is obtained as much variety as possible, along with the greatest possible order; that is, it is the means of obtaining as much perfection as possible. (secs. 120, 124, 241 sqq., 214, 243, 275)

59. Besides, only this hypothesis (which I venture to call demonstrated) suitably exalts the greatness of God; and this Monsieur Bayle recognized when, in his Dictionary (article 'Rorarius'), he raised objections to it, in which he was inclined even to think that I was attributing too much to God?more than it is possible to attribute. But he was unable to explain why this universal harmony, according to which every substance exactly expresses every other through the relations it has with them, was impossible.

60. Further, one sees in what I have just said the a priori reasons why things could not be otherwise than they are. For God in regulating the whole has had regard for each part, and in particular for each monad, whose nature being representative, nothing can limit it to representing only a part of things, although it is true that this representation is only confused as regards the detail of the entire universe, and can be distinct only as regards a small part of things, namely, those that are either nearest or greatest in relation to each of the monads; otherwise each monad would be a divinity. It is not in their object, but in the mode of their knowledge of the object, that monads are limited. They all move confusedly toward the infinite, the whole; but they are limited and distinguished through the degrees of their distinct perceptions.

61. And composites agree in this respect with simple substances. For all is a plenum (and thus all matter is connected) and in the plenum every motion has some effect upon distant bodies in proportion to their distance, so that each body not only is affected by those which are in contact with it and in some way feels the effect of everything that happens to them, but also is indirectly affected by bodies touching those with which it is in immediate contact. It follows that this communication extends to any distance, however great. And consequently every body feels the effect of all that takes place in the universe, so that one who sees all could read in each what is happening everywhere, and even what has happened or will happen, observing in the present that which is far off in time as well as in place: sympnoia panta, as Hippocrates said. But a soul can read in itself only what is represented there distinctly; it cannot unpack all at once all its implications, for they extend to infinity.

62. Thus, although each created monad represents the whole universe, it represents more distinctly the body which is specially assigned to it, and of which it is the entelechy; and as this body expresses the whole universe through the connection of all matter in the plenum, the soul also represents the whole universe by representing this body, which belongs to it in a particular way. (sec. 400)

63. The body belonging to a monad, which is its entelechy or soul, constitutes with the entelechy what can be called a living thing, and with the soul what is called an animal. Now this body of a living thing, or animal, is always organic; for as every monad is, in its own way, a mirror of the universe, and as the universe is regulated according to a perfect order, there must also be an order in that which represents it, i.e., in the perceptions of the soul, and consequently in the body, according to which the universe is represented in the soul. (sec. 403)

64. Thus the organic body of each living thing is a kind of divine machine or natural automaton, which infinitely surpasses all artificial automata. For a machine made by human art is not a machine in each of its parts. For instance, the tooth of a brass wheel has parts or fragments which for us are no longer artificial things, and which have nothing to indicate the machine in relation to which the wheel was intended to be used. But machines of nature, that is, living bodies, are still machines in their smallest parts, to infinity. It is this which constitutes the difference between nature and art, that is, between divine art and ours. (secs. 134, 146, 194, 403)

65. And the Author of nature has been able to practice this divine and infinitely marvelous art, because each portion of matter is not only infinitely divisible, as the ancients recognized, but also actually subdivided without end, each part into parts, of which each has some motion of its own; otherwise it would be impossible for each portion of matter to express the whole universe. (Prelim. Disc., sec. 70; sec. 195.)

66. From this we see that there is a world of creatures, living things, animals, entelechies, souls in the smallest portion of matter.

67. Each portion of matter can be conceived as a garden full of plants, and as a pond full of fishes. But each branch of a plant, each member of an animal, each drop of its humors is also such a garden or such a pond.

68. And although the earth and the air which are between the plants of the garden, or the water which is between the fish of the pond, are neither plants nor fish, yet they also contain plants and fishes, but most often so minute as to be imperceptible to us.

69. Thus there is nothing fallow, nothing sterile, nothing dead in the universe, no chaos, no confusion save in appearance, somewhat as might it appear in a pond at a distance, in which one would see a confused movement and, as it were, a swarming of fish in the pond, without separately distinguishing the fish themselves. (Pref. [GP V 40, 44])

70. Hence we see that each living body has a dominant entelechy, which in an animal is the soul; but the members of this living body are full of other living things, plants, animals, each of which also has its entelechy, or its dominant soul.

71. But it must not be imagined, as has been done by some who have misunderstood my thought, that each soul has a mass or portion of matter belonging exclusively to itself or assigned to it forever, and that it consequently possesses other inferior living things, destined to serve it forever. For all bodies are in a perpetual flux like rivers, and parts enter them and leave them continually.

72. Thus the soul changes its body only little by little, and by degrees, so that it is never deprived at once of all its organs; and there is often metamorphosis in animals, but never metempsychosis or transmigration of souls; nor are there entirely separated souls or spirits without bodies. God alone is completely without body. (secs. 90, 124.)

73. It also follows from this that there is never absolute generation nor, strictly speaking, complete death, involving the separation of the soul. What we call generations are developments and growths; what we call deaths are envelopments and diminutions.

74. Philosophers have been much perplexed about the origin of forms, entelechies, or souls; but today when it has become known through careful studies of plants, insects, and animals that the organic bodies of nature are never products of chaos or putrefaction, but always come from seeds, in which there was undoubtedly some preformation, it is judged that not only was the organic body already there before conception, but also a soul in this body, and, in short, the animal itself; and that through conception this animal has merely been prepared for a great transformation, in order to become an animal of another kind. Something like this is seen even apart from generation, as when worms become flies and caterpillars become butterflies. (secs. 86, 89; Pref. [GP V 40ff]; secs. 90, 187, 188, 403, 86, 397)

75. Those animals of which some are raised by means of conception to the rank of larger animals may be called spermatic; but those among them which remain in their own kind (that is, the majority) are born, multiply, and are destroyed like the large animals, and it is only a few elect that pass to a greater theater.

76. But this was only half the truth: I judged, therefore, that if the animal never begins naturally, it no more ends naturally, and that not only will there be no generation, but also no complete destruction or death in the strict sense. And these a posteriori reasonings, drawn from experience, agree perfectly with my a priori principles, as deduced above. (sec. 90)

77. Thus it may be said that not only is the soul (mirror of an indestructible universe) indestructible, but also the animal itself, even though its machine may often perish in part and cast off or put on organic coverings.

78. These principles have given me a way of explaining naturally the union or rather the conformity of the soul and the organic body. The soul follows its own laws, and the body likewise follows its own laws; and they agree with each other in virtue of the harmony preestablished among substances, since they are all representations of the same universe. (Pref. [GP V 39]; secs. 340, 352, 353, 358)

79. Souls act according to the laws of final causes through appetitions, ends and means. Bodies act according to the laws of efficient causes or motions. And the two kingdoms, that of efficient causes and that of final causes, are in harmony with one another.

80. Descartes recognized that souls cannot impart any force to bodies, because there is always the same quantity of force in matter. Nevertheless he believed that the soul could change the direction of bodies. But this is because in his time it was not known that there is a law of nature which affirms also the conservation of the same total direction in matter. Had Descartes noticed this he would have come upon my system of preestablished harmony. (Pref. [GP V 44]; secs. 22, 59, 60, 61, 63, 66, 345, 346 sqq., 354, 355)

27 February 2006

stamps of palm trees by Donald Evans

Click for larger.

Palm Garden
Postage stamps from
the island nation of Tropides
by Donald Evans (American, 1945-1977)
Watercolor; painted and perforated
stamp-size by hand
© 1980 by the Estate of Donald Evans

PizzaQ: smutty sordid gossip about famous mathematician

taste receptors in the human tongue

First mentioned in previous post about the orbit ellipse of Planet Yobbo:

Which famous mathematician was licked all over his body for a week?
Why was he licked all over his body? We'll up the prize to 2 Pizza slices. 3 slices if you throw in one of the math things he was famous for.

only 1 human being on the entire Internet tried to answer this PizzaQ, you're all expelled!

Click this for original PizzaQ.


9999719.26522921 Fz.
hoo boy.
~ben n.

used allercalc and mostly openoffice sheet.
plz let me know if I got it right.

a = semimajor axis

b = semiminor axis

dist btwn ctr and focus

e = eccentricity

Phi = arcsin(e) = 0.016710997

E(e) = (I used allercalc here)

Units are Fz. Or Frongoz


e*a=dist btwn ctr and focus

E(e) is the complete elliptic integral of the second kind for the eccentricity e = sin ? (tables are usually given in terms of ? instead of e). E(0) = ?/2, and E(1) = 1, corresponding to the limits of a circle, b = a, and a straight line, b = 0.

Modular angle = alpha,
Eccentricity ^ 2 = (a2*a2-b2*b2)/(a2*a2)
Alpha = arcsin k
k = .016710219230

Anonymous said...

let me just come right out and say I'm not definitively solving this problem this time either, just sharing where I'm at.

how about Ramanujan's formula approximation of 939,885,629.4 Fz?

hmmm. solving the complete elliptic interval of the 2nd kind (ellipticE function) seems too tricky, in light of my current inability to comprehend the concept of the elliptic modulus or the modular angle.

939,885,629.2 Fz. is the eerily similar alternate answer I come up with when I use pi/2 instead of whatever phi really is in allercalc's ellipticE function. I've figured out that phi is supposed to refer to the angle at which a hypothetical circle is positioned relative to the x-y plane to make the present ellipse, but exactly calculating it is something my searches have not answered. It's not just the golden ratio, 1.61803399, right?

I can proudly say I didn't consult with anyone to get these answers, except of course google, wikipedia,, and probably half a dozen other sites.


Attention all Space Cadets. Listen up, this is the Commandant speaking:

The entire graduating class of 2010 is hereby Expelled, and this will go on your permanent records.

Except you, Anonymous.

Your answer differs from mine by a distance of less than one frongo. That's close enough to stick your head out of a window of your sexy spacecraft and see your Space Lobster trap, if the flashers are still working.

Have you ever eaten Space Lobster? Raumus homardus, and the sweetest, tenderest damn thing you ever dipped into melted butter. And they are PRICEY!

Around 1660 the Puritan authorities on the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts forbad citizens from feeding their slaves and servants (Atlantic) lobsters more than twice a week. In them days, you could take an hour's walk down the beach and fill a bushel basket with the squiggly little suckers. They were considered trash food; they're forbidden by Kosher law, and the Puritans were trying to re-establish a New Jerusalem.

Vleeptron's got the Ministry of Food & Beverages working on the problem, but so far the bad news seems to be that Space Lobster is just as forbidden, by exactly the same Entity, for largely the same reasons, as Atlantic and Mediterranean Lobster.

Okay, back to the Length of the Orbit of Planet Yobbo.

Anonymous has gotten reallllllllllllly intimate with the Ellipse. I hope he had a good time. I hope he had a lot of aspirin in the medicine chest.

Me, I was lucky, I found a way where I only had to throw a and b at the Ellipse, and then flee. Me and the Ellipse did not get nearly so intimate.

If you are experiencing intimate math problems, this is about the best place, this guy has all the answers:

but if you want to read all the gossip and smut about the lives of all the hot mathematicians through history

Which mathematician was licked all over his body for a week? These guys know. I know. And we know why he was licked all over his body. Do you? 1 slice.

I got this infinite series by Colin Maclaurin 1742 -- certainly a worthy ancestor of Ramanujan, who must have thrilled to it when he found it as a schoolboy -- which claims to get the answer on the nose to any decimal precision your little heart desires.

You win the 3 damn slices of Pizza! And Vleeptron is troubled to report that Anonymous lives so nearby that Vleeptron may finally actually have to fork over the pizza.

The life of a Space Lobster must be a very cold and harsh life. I don't know how they survive, particulary being as tasty as they are. I had one the last time I was in Ciudad Vleeptron, gently grilled in EVOO, maybe a little fresh garlic and parsley, but nothing to challenge the natural taste. On the juke box, Caruso was singing "Vesta la Giubba" and I had a glass of Chianti. I was wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs toque and those running shoes with red LEDs blinking in the heels, like parking flashers.

We'll try to find some new recruits to take the place of all of you who Washed Out. This is a sad day for the Vleeptron Space Academy, a sad, sad day. The VSW only just opened a few years ago, they make a lot of jokes about us down in Poortown and over on Hoon. The Board of Inquiry determined that the loss of the vessel was Not Our Fault.

btw we previously hinted that 1 frongo = 1 kilometer. By an even more amazing coincidence, the semimajor and semiminor axes of Yobbo are exactly the same as those of Earth, the third massive sphere out from Sol.

Maclaurin says if you crank the handle on his equation just 4 times (in Nerd: the infinite series converges very rapidly), you soon find that every year, Earth travels

T = 4
C = 939885629.430007 km

... that's the Circumference of its orbital ellipse. Close enough to find your lobster trap.

btw Vleeptron certainly didn't do this by hand. Our prime contractor, Central American Rockwell, handed the job over to Yankee Magnetic Software ("Solving things you never even knew were problems!"), and they whipped Maclaurin's equation out in the world's finest high-level programming language, Microsoft QuickBasic. (Microsoft no longer sells or supports QB. That really bites.) We just arbitarily asked for that much precision, and we plum got it.

I think this Maclaurin guy was very smart, check this out:

However, Maclaurin had to defend a thesis in a public examination for the award of this degree (which is not the case today), and he chose On the power of gravity as his topic. The thesis, which developed Newton's theories, was written by a 14 year old boy at a time when such advanced ideas would only be familiar to a small number of the leading mathematicians.

I'm sure he and Ramanujan would have had much to talk about. "Much can be done with a Scotsman, if he be caught young," Dr. Johnson said.

23 February 2006

W. Graham Robertson, who gave Blake's "Newton" to the Tate (by John Singer Sargent)

W. Graham Robertson
John Singer Sargent -- American painter
Oil on canvas
Tate Gallery,London
Oil on canvas
230.5 x 118.7 cm (90-3/4 x 46-3/4 in.)
Jpg: Art Renewal Center

W. (Walford) Graham Robertson (1866-1948) was a gentleman artist. Born in London from a wealthy family he eventually dabbled in many forms and styles starting from Pre-Raphaelite oils to illustrations, caricatures, to portraits, later impressionistic landscapes, as well as being a talented writer. He was deeply interested in the theater and by the age of thirty had designed costumes for five major plays of which he received praise. He also painted many portraits of his friends and the leading actresses of the time.

He studied under Albert Moore (a Classical / Pre-Raphael painter 1841-1893) after first attending the South Kensington school.

Although he showed a lot of talent, he apparently never stayed with anything for very long. It seemed the art-form he was best at was the art of Schmoozing. He reveled in moving within social circles, was good friends with Burne-Jones and avidly collected Pre-Raphael art. By the time Sargent paints him as a London dandy -- he pretty much hits the nail on the head.

When John asked him why he had never painted a self-portrait, Graham responded, "Because I am not my style."

It's my impression that Graham liked to think of himself as the English equivalent of the Comte Robert de Montesquiou, whom he was also friends. Though, from what I can tell, Graham was far more talented, wielded far less influence, and didn't possess near the malicious streak (if at all) that Montesquiou had.

The painting took place in Sargent's studio and John insisted on the long fur-collared coat, jade handled cane, and Graham's own dog as props. Graham was 28 years old at the time, though the boyish face and frame made him look much younger. When Graham complained about the heat (since it was summer) Sargent persisted that the coat, itself, was the painting.

The following is an excerpt from Graham's autobiography "Time Was":

(page 2 of 2)

"Time Was: the reminiscences of W. Graham Robertson"


Excerpts relating to John Singer Sargent -- pp.233-244

In 1894 I blossomed into a Notable Personage myself: it was a second-hand notability, a reflected aureole but distinctly noticeable. I dined out in it for a couple of seasons, and even now it sheds an occasional glimmer upon an otherwise unillumined name. More or less by accident, I became the subject of one of John Sargent's most famous pictures.

Sargent was still a young man (nobody was very old in the early 'nineties), and Tite Street, Chelsea, did not as yet show the un-ending procession on its way to his studio that thronged it in later days [pic], but several distinguished clients had already passed that way and, as Oscar Wilde observed to me, "The street that on a wet and dreary morning has vouchsafed the vision of Lady Macbeth in full regalia magnificently seated in a four-wheeler can never again be as other streets: it must always be full of wonderful possibilities [pic]."

Sargent's fame was approaching its zenith, though sitters were still a little coy: his portraits were not always quite what the subjects expected -- they could not feel comfortably certain of what they were going to get.

"It is positively dangerous to sit to Sargent. It's taking your face in your hands," said a timid aspirant; and many stood shivering on the brink waiting for more adventurous spirits to make the plunge.

This was Sargent's great period, when he was not so over tasked with commissions and was able to concentrate upon the work in hand.

I had long wanted a portrait of my mother and was lucky in persuading him to undertake it, though it was perhaps not a complete success [Mrs. Graham Moore Robertson]. My mother was a bad sitter, she was shy and very loath, as she expressed it, to 'sit still and be stared at.'

Sargent could not reproduce her real self because during the sittings he never saw it, although afterwards they became good friends. Still, the portrait was a fine piece of work and a brilliant superficial likeness.

I was often commandeered to attend the séances, as my mother required support (and considered that the casual woman friend worried the artist, in which opinion she was not far wrong.

Ada Rehan

Ada Rehan [pic] was sitting to Sargent at the same time, a large portrait of her having been commissioned by an American adorer, one, Mrs. Whiting of Whitingsville, Mass. I remember the imposing name, as it seemed to fascinate Sargent, who became haunted by it and would chant it rhythmically as a kind of litany the while he painted, the 'Mass.' in very deep tones coming as a final Amen, in which I reverently joined.

Miss Rehan was another shy and reluctant sitter and, between the two, the poor artist must have had uphill work. Each, I think, found a certain comfort in the other's discomfort; they were comrades in misfortune and even shared certain studio "properties," Sargent borrowing from my mother her white feather fan for Ada to hold outspread while she glanced at the spectator over her shoulder.

The comic relief of the sittings was supplied by my dog, Mouton, who, well stricken in years and almost toothless, claimed rather unusual privileges and was always allowed one bite by Sargent, whom he unaccountably disliked, before work began.

"He has bitten me now," Sargent would remark mildly, "so we can go ahead."

Miss Rehan's sittings had been interrupted by a few final rehearsals of "Twelfth Night" before its production in London, but at last the evening arrived. I was "in front" with a friend, J.J. Shannon, then Sargent's most formidable rival among portrait painters, and had sent round a line to the Leading Lady asking to see her when all was over.

Almost from the start her Viola had enchanted the audience, but in the midst of her triumph, and success in a great Shakespearean role in Shakespeare's country meant very much to her, she found time to scribble a note and to send it to me.

Yes. come by all means. I have something particular to tell you about Sargent -- something he said of you -- you must hear it and, I hope, act upon it. Shall I tell you before your friend? -- you must bring him. This evening is so nice -- it has unnerved me a little.

Affectionately, ADA REHAN

I felt puzzled and intrigued. What could Sargent have said of me, Sargent who so very seldom said anything of anybody? It was quite exciting. We presented ourselves in due course and found Viola rather overwhelmed by her great ovation, but still eager to impart news.

"Well, he's very anxious to paint you."


"Yes. He wants you to sit to him?"

"Wants me? But good gracious, why?"

"I don't know," said Ada, a little tactlessly. "He says you are so paintable: that the lines of your long overcoat and -- and the dog -- and -- I can't quite remember what he said, but he was tremendously enthusiastic."

I did not wonder that Miss Rehan's memory had failed, but I was well able to supply the missing words. Sargent, I felt sure, had delivered himself thus -- "You know-there's a certain sort of--er--er--that is to say a kind of --er--er--in fact a--er--er____" and so on and so on. He had not the gift of tongues, but that mattered little; he was so well able to express himself otherwise.

Heraldic Sense

No one had ever wanted to paint me before. Portions of me had been borrowed from time to time; hands pretty frequently by Albert Moore, hands again by Poynter, quite a good deal by Walter Crane for immortals of uncertain shape and sex, but I myself, proper (I use the word in its heraldic sense [1]), had never been in request. Even now, as far as I could gather, the dog and the overcoat seemed to be regarded as my strong points; nevertheless, I felt very proud and -- well, Sargent soon had three large canvases on hand instead of two.

Being but an amateur model, I was easily entrapped into a trying pose, turning as if to walk away, with a general twist of the whole body and all the weight on one foot. Professional models will always try to poise the weight equally on both feet and will go to any lengths of duplicity to gain this end.

I managed pretty well on the whole, but the sittings cleared up a point which had long puzzled me: why did models occasionally faint during a long pose without mentioning that they felt tired and wanted a rest? One day the answer came to me quite suddenly. I had been standing for over an hour and saw no reason why I should not go on for another hour, when I became aware of what seemed a cold wind blowing in my face accompanied by a curious "going" at the knees.

I tried to ask for a rest, but found that my lips were frozen stiff and refused to move. Hundreds of years passed-- I suppose about twenty seconds.

Sargent glanced at me.

"What a horrid light there is just now," he remarked. "A sort of green-" He looked more steadily. "Why, it's you!" he cried, and seizing me by the collar, rushed me into the street, where he propped me up against the door-post. It was a pity that Oscar Wilde opposite was not looking out of the window: the "wonderful possibilities of Tite Street" were yet unexhausted.

Comte Robert de Montesquiou

After the picture was well advanced it was laid by for a short time while the artist took a holiday in Paris, and when I started sittings again I found him much perturbed.

"I say," he began, "did you ever see Whistler's portrait of Comte Robert de Montesquiou?[pic]"

"No," said I. "They never would let me see it while it was being painted. Why?"

"Well, I'd never seen it either," said Sargent, "until I came across it just now in the Champs de Mars. It's just like this! Everybody will say that I've copied it."

My old friend Robert de Montesquiou had been sitting to Whistler while Sargent's portrait of me was in progress, but had shrouded the fact in all the romantic secrecy that his soul loved.

He was in England incognito (I cannot imagine why) and took much delight in gliding down unfrequented ways and adopting strange aliases; visiting me by stealth after dusk with an agreeable suggestion of dark lanterns and disguise cloaks, though, as he was almost unknown in London, he might have walked at noon down Piccadilly accompanied by a brass band without anyone being much the wiser.

Whistler, who also loved to play at secrets, was equally clandestine, I, dutifully acting under orders, dissembled energetically, and Montesquiou was so wrapped about in thick mystery that no intelligent acquaintance within the three miles radius could possibly have failed to notice him.

And now the mystic portrait was on view in Paris, and Sargent had found it just like mine and feared that critics would agree with him.

[See Montesquiou in Juxtaposition]

And in truth a few people did make the remark, though there was really but little resemblance. Both canvases showed a tall, thin figure in black against a dark background, but the likeness ceased there and, as a picture, the Sargent was by far the finer. The Whistler was not of his best -- the blacks were black, not the lovely vaporous dimness of the "Rosa Corder"; the portrait was quite worthy neither of the painter nor the model, for the delicate moulding of Robert de Montesquiou's features was hardly suggested; but Whistler was not then quite equal to the physical exertion of dealing with so large a canvas. He had started two portraits of Comte Robert, working upon them alternately, but as far as I know only one survived: it was the last large picture that he ever completed.

The Sargent, on the other hand, was of the artist's best period and he was painting something that he had "seen" pictorially and for some unknown reason had wished to perpetuate. Why a very thin boy (I then looked no more) in a very tight coat should have struck him as a subject worthy of treatment I never discovered, but he evidently had the finished picture in his mind from the first and started it almost exactly upon its final lines. It was hot summer weather and I feebly rebelled against the thick overcoat.

"But the coat is the picture," said Sargent.
"You must wear it."

"Then I can't wear anything else," I cried in despair, and with the sacrifice of most of my wardrobe I became thinner and thinner, much to the satisfaction of the artist, who used to pull and drag the unfortunate coat more and more closely round me until it might have been draping a lamp-post.

Even before the picture was finished its fame began to grow, and friends took to dropping in, anxious for a sight of it. Sargent's old friend, Henry James, whom I had known before very slightly, came several times and expressed high approbation.

Henry James

The Henry James of those days was strangely unlike the remarkable-looking man of almost twenty years later, who was then himself painted by Sargent [pic].

In the 'nineties he was in appearance almost remarkably unremarkable; his face might have been anybody's face; it was as though, when looking round for a face, he had been able to find nothing to his taste and had been obliged to put up with a ready-made "stock" article until something more suitable could be made to order expressly for him.

This special and only genuine Henry James's face was not "delivered" until he was a comparatively old man, so that for the greater part of his life he went about in disguise.

My mother, who was devoted to his works, used to be especially annoyed by this elusive personality.

"I always want so much to talk with him," she complained, "yet when I meet him I never can remember who he is."

Perhaps to make up for this indistinguishable presence he cultivated impressiveness of manner and great preciosity of speech.

He had a way of leaving a dinner-party early with an air of preoccupation that was very intriguing.

"He always does it," untruthfully exclaimed a deserted and slightly piqued hostess. "It is to convey the suggestion that he has an appointment with a Russian princess."

In later life both the impressive manner and fastidious speech became intensified: what he said was always interesting, but he took so long to say it that one felt a growing conviction that he was not for a moment, but for all time. With him it was a moral obligation to find the mot juste [3], and if it had got mislaid or was far to seek, the world had to stand still until it turned up.

Sometimes when it arrived it was delightfully unexpected. I remember in later years walking with him round my little Surrey garden and manoeuvering him to a spot where a rather wonderful view suddenly revealed itself.

"My dear boy," exclaimed Henry James grasping my arm. "How--er--how_____" I waited breathless: the mot juste was on its way; at least I should hear the perfect and final summing up of my countryside's loveliness. "How--er--how______" still said Mr. James, until at long last the golden sentence sprang complete from his lips. "'My dear boy, how awfully jolly!"

I also recall his telling of a tale about an American business man who had bought a large picture.

"And when he got it home," continued Mr. James, "he did not know what---er----

"What to do with it," prompted some impatient and irreverent person.

Henry James silently rejected the suggestion. "He did not know what---er--what-- well, in point of fact, the hell to do with it."

When, quite towards the end of his life, his new face was evolved, it was a very wonderful one and well worth waiting for. Sargent's painting of it is fine, but lacks a certain something.

"It is the sort of portrait one would paint of Henry James if one had sat opposite to him twice in a bus," said a disappointed admirer, and the statement, though untrue, had some grains of truth in it.

Yet this should not have been so. Sargent and Henry James were real friends, they understood each other perfectly and their points of view were in many ways identical.

Renegade Americans both, each did his best to love his country and failed far more signally than does the average Englishman: they were plus Anglais que les Anglais [4] with an added fastidiousness, a mental remoteness that was not English.

Both were fond of society, though neither seemed altogether at one with it: Henry James, an artist in words, liked to talk and in order to talk there must be someone to talk to, but Sargent talked little and with an effort; why he "went everywhere" night after night often puzzled me.

I saw a good deal of Henry James at about this time, then we lost sight of each other for many years. When I next met him, almost unrecognisable in his new face, he seemed much aged and broken. His ever troublesome nerves had now made him more dependent upon companionship; some of the mystery and remoteness had disappeared.

His final nationalisation as an Englishman [in 1915] came as a surprise to many. His liaison with Britannia was then such an old story, both had completely lived down any scandal, and that he should wish at the eleventh hour to make an honest woman of her seemed almost unnecessary.

His portrait by Sargent [pic], one of the few men who really knew him, should have supplied a clue to the true Henry James that no one else could have found: perhaps the artist intentionally withheld it.

Sarah Bernhardt

Another friend who volunteered to "come and sit with me while I was being painted" (how painters of portraits have learned to dread that offer) was Sarah Bernhardt [pic].

She wished to see what Sargent was "making of me" and proposed her chaperonage at an early stage of the portrait's evolution.

I had misgivings; I could not see Madame Sarah sitting quietly in a comer while I basked in the limelight.

"But it will bore you," I ventured.

"No," said Madame Sarah. "I want to see the picture and I'm coming. You must call for me and take me with you."

"But the sitting is early: you will never get up in time and you'll never be ready."

"I shall get up and I shall be ready. I am coming," said Sarah with finality; so of course she came.

If the sun had risen in the west that morning it would have surprised me less than the sight of Madame Sarah ready and waiting when I called for her at an early hour, waiting in a neat, business-like walking-dress with a small black hat. She might have been going to shop at Whitely's with a string bag.

Sargent, who disliked the flamboyant type of actress, was completely won over and surveyed the little dark figure with approbation.

"I never saw that she was beautiful before," he whispered to me. "Look at her now."

Sarah was leaning forward, getting a view of the picture in a little hanging mirror: she was poised, the tips of the fingers against the wall, the head thrown back, the delicate profile in relief against a black screen.

I believe that Sargent only narrowly escaped asking to paint her then and there, but that he did escape was perhaps fortunate. They were not sympathetic; Sargent as a painter of Facts was unrivalled, but Sarah Bernhardt was embodied Fantasy and was only well and truly seen through the golden mist of dreams. Dreams were not in Sargent's line.

Ellen Terry

The Ellen Terry portrait [pic], imaginative and dramatic, was a splendid exception to this rule; here, I think, the magnificent pomp of colour had fired the artist's fancy, but in the head of Henry Irving, painted in the same year, he had again shown his limitations.

He had painted the great actor with the flame of his genius blown out and had shown that the marvellous face, had it belonged to someone else, might not have been marvellous at all.

Here was a face that might look drearily at us out of a ticket office or haughtily take our order for fancy trouserings; it might bend over a ledger with a pen behind its ear or stare in listless apathy at small children in a Board School, but never could it blaze like a beacon or lower like a thundercloud, never could it have held crowds spellbound and swayed them with a glance. It was not Henry Irving, but the dreadful thing about it was that it might have been, and the sitter, probably recognising this, actively hated it.

He hid it away for some time, but one morning when it shyly peeped from the boot cupboard or crept from under the bed, he took a breakfast knife and__________ There is now no portrait of Irving by Sargent. . .

His destruction of the Sargent portrait was of course regarded as a great crime, and it was perhaps as well that Sarah Bernhardt [pic] was not exposed to a like temptation.

I wonder whether, having us both before him in his studio, Sargent noticed that, all unlikely as it sounds, there was then a vague resemblance between Madame Sarah and myself.

She had apparently realized it before I did. I had paid a sudden visit to Paris without advising her of my advent and had, as usual, gone on my first evening to see her play. When I went round to her dressing-room after the fall of the curtain I found her expecting me.

"But I never told you that I was coming."

"No," said she, "but when I was on the stage one of the actors (he's new and does not know my friends) whispered to me, 'Your son is in the audience, Madame Sarah'; and when I said, 'But you have never seen Maurice,' he told me that he recognized him from his likeness to me. Now Maurice is not in the least like me, so I felt sure that it must be you."

"But I am not like you," I said, all incredulous.

"Look," said Sarah, and leading me to the mirror she put her face beside mine.

It could not be denied that there was a certain sort of something, as Sargent would have said, a blurred travesty of her clear-cut face; but, had I been Madame Sarah, I should I not have mentioned it. That she should contrive to resemble the Mona Lisa of Leonardo and the Primavera of Botticelli and also to be rather like me was perhaps one of her most amazing feats.

My face acquired for me a spurious interest for some time after-which reminds me that while I was sitting to Sargent I made a joke.

I know it was a joke because several people laughed at it and it gained me quite a little reputation, but it must have been very subtle, as I have never been able to grasp the point a myself.

Sargent had asked me why I had not painted myself and I replied, "Because I am not my style." That was the joke.

Sargent didn't see it until three days afterwards, when he suddenly burst out laughing at a dinner at Sir George Lewis's [pic]. That was the birth of the joke as a joke. It had a great success; it went the round of the studios, it was translated into French by Mr. George Moore and the translation revised and reedited by Walter Sickert. When the latter repeated it to me in its final form I almost saw it, but the illumination was only momentary. I can't see that joke yet; in fact, I don't believe that it is a joke.

Sargent's studio parties

Sometimes Sargent would give studio parties at which the originals of the various portraits would prowl suspiciously round each other, perforce paying tribute to rival charms, yet each comfortably confident that he (or perhaps in this case mostly she) was sole possessor of the elusive quality-the "certain sort of a something"-that drew out the. greatest powers of the painter.

Once we were summoned to meet and admire Carmencita [pic], the dancer, whose portrait had been one of the first of Sargent's sensational successes. This was to be an unusually large gathering and the artist was rather puzzled by questions of space: the dancer and her guitar players required about half the studio for their evolutions; there was not much room for an audience. Sargent was the kindliest of men; unless really roused, it was very difficult for him to say No: the invitation list presented a troublesome problem.

"I suppose I must ask So-and-So," said Sargent dismally.

"Why should you?" I demanded.

"Oh, well, you know-I suppose-I ought to."

"But do you want to?"

"No," said Sargent with unusual firmness.

"Then don't."

"All right," said Sargent bravely, as he scratched out the name. "I won't. I'm-I'm damned if I do."

Nevertheless, when I arrived at the party, the first person I met was So-and-So.

The scene in the dimly lit studio was a Sargent picture [pic] or an etching by Goya, the dancer, short-skirted and tinsel-decked, against a huge black screen, the guitaristi, black against black, their white shirts gleaming. And then Carmencita danced. She postured and paced, she ogled, she flashed her eyes and her teeth, she was industriously Spanish in the Parisian and American manner, she looked beautiful and tawdry, but she was not a great dancer -- it was all a little disappointing. Then she retired, to reappear in a dress of dead white falling to her feet, with a long, heavy train; she wore no jewels, only one dark red rose behind the ear. And she sang the wild, crooning "Paloma," and as she sang she circled with splendid arm movements, the feet hardly stirring, the white train sweeping and swinging round her. This was better-this was different. This was not Carmencita of the Halls, but the real dancer of Old Spain.

Then Sargent came to her whispering a request. She looked angry, then sullen, shaking her head violently. He persisted, and opening a great cupboard in the wall, held out to her a beautiful white shawl with long fringes.

She still hesitated, pouting, then snatched the shawl, threw it over her shoulders, flicking him in the face with the fringe with the impudent gesture of a gamin, and slowly crouched down upon a low stool, her face now grave, her hands in her lap. From the guitaristi behind her came a low thrumming, a mere murmur, and softly, under her breath, Carmencita began to sing.

Old folk songs she sang, mournful, haunting, with long cadences and strange intervals, and as she sang she clapped her hands, softly swaying to the rhythm. And her beauty changed, the tawdriness fell away, she became ageless and eternal like the still figures of Egyptian sculpture.

She was one with the "spinsters and the knitters in the sun" who crooned and swayed thus while the Moors were building the Alhambra, nay, perhaps when Nimrod was building Nineveh.

Sargent told me afterwards that she had held out long against the performance. It was low, she declared; the common people sang these songs at street corners -- they were not for Carmencita of Broadway and the Boulevards; what would his fine ladies and gentlemen think of her if she thus forgot herself?

But those whispered lilts laid a spell upon her audience, and the name of Carmencita now brings me no vision of a pirouetting dancer, but memory of a quiet, shrouded figure with darkly dreaming eyes and hands rhythmically clapping.

I wonder that Sargent had not chosen to paint her thus rather than in her short-skirted finery [pic]; I suppose it was because he had already used the white satin and long train motif in one of his best early pictures, El Jaleo.

* * *
Special thanks to Kathie Roskom, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for help on the excerpt from Graham's autobiography

Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved
Created 1/14/2003
Updated 4/10/2005

Puppet Shows

Puppet Shows

big heads clash, one paints & writes a long poem about the other

God, His image unshown, revealeth
His System of the World to Isaac Newton.

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

-- Newton

The Princeton University site I re-filched this from has this caption:

The romantic poet and naturalist, William Blake, depicted Newton as a misguided hero whose gaze was directed only at sterile geometrical diagrams drawn on the ground.

Newton, by William Blake

Tate Britain, London UK
(one of four Tate Museums, another in London, one in Cornwall, one in Liverpool.)

1795/circa 1805

Colour print finished in ink and watercolour on paper
support: 460 x 600 mm
on paper, unique

Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939

[Thank you very much, sir.]

The watermark in the paper has the date 1804. Blake must have printed this work in 1804-5. The complexity and quality of the colour-printed areas of the rock, and the high degree of hand-finishing applied to Newton’s flesh and hair, show the great technical proficiency he had acquired through his colour-printing experiments from the mid 1790s.

Isaac Newton was the scientist who first understood planetary motion. Blake was critical of such disciplined reasoning. Through the accidental nature of the colours and texture of the rock Blake asserted his belief in the supremacy of the creative imagination.
(From the display caption September 2004)


Nicholson & Lee, eds. The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.

58. The Everlasting Gospel
By William Blake (1757 - 1827)

THE VISION OF CHRIST that thou dost see
Is my vision’s greatest enemy.
Thine has a great hook nose like thine;
Mine has a snub nose like to mine.
Thine is the Friend of all Mankind; 5
Mine speaks in parables to the blind.
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.
Socrates taught what Meletus
Loath’d as a nation’s bitterest curse, 10
And Caiaphas was in his own mind
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read’st black where I read white.

Was Jesus gentle, or did He 15
Give any marks of gentility?
When twelve years old He ran away,
And left His parents in dismay.
When after three days’ sorrow found,
Loud as Sinai’s trumpet-sound: 20
‘No earthly parents I confess --
My Heavenly Father’s business!
Ye understand not what I say,
And, angry, force Me to obey.
Obedience is a duty then, 25
And favour gains with God and men.’
John from the wilderness loud cried;
Satan gloried in his pride.
‘Come,’ said Satan, ‘come away,
I’ll soon see if you’ll obey! 30
John for disobedience bled,
But you can turn the stones to bread.
God’s high king and God’s high priest
Shall plant their glories in your breast,
If Caiaphas you will obey, 35
If Herod you with bloody prey
Feed with the sacrifice, and be
Obedient, fall down, worship me.’
Thunders and lightnings broke around,
And Jesus’ voice in thunders’ sound: 40
‘Thus I seize the spiritual prey.
Ye smiters with disease, make way.
I come your King and God to seize,
Is God a smiter with disease?’
The God of this world rag’d in vain: 45
He bound old Satan in His chain,
And, bursting forth, His furious ire
Became a chariot of fire.
Throughout the land He took His course,
And trac’d diseases to their source. 50
He curs’d the Scribe and Pharisee,
Trampling down hypocrisy.
Where’er His chariot took its way,
There Gates of Death let in the Day,
Broke down from every chain and bar; 55
And Satan in His spiritual war
Dragg’d at His chariot-wheels: loud howl’d
The God of this world: louder roll’d
The chariot-wheels, and louder still
His voice was heard from Zion’s Hill, 60
And in His hand the scourge shone bright;
He scourg’d the merchant Canaanite
From out the Temple of His Mind,
And in his body tight does bind
Satan and all his hellish crew; 65
And thus with wrath He did subdue
The serpent bulk of Nature’s dross,
Till He had nail’d it to the Cross.
He took on sin in the Virgin’s womb
And put it off on the Cross and tomb 70
To be worshipp’d by the Church of Rome.

Was Jesus humble? or did He
Give any proofs of humility?
Boast of high things with humble tone,
And give with charity a stone? 75
When but a child He ran away,
And left His parents in dismay.
When they had wander’d three days long
These were the words upon His tongue:
‘No earthly parents I confess: 80
I am doing My Father’s business.’
When the rich learnèd Pharisee
Came to consult Him secretly,
Upon his heart with iron pen
He wrote ‘Ye must be born again.’ 85
He was too proud to take a bribe;
He spoke with authority, not like a Scribe.
He says with most consummate art
‘Follow Me, I am meek and lowly of heart,
As that is the only way to escape 90
The miser’s net and the glutton’s trap.’
What can be done with such desperate fools
Who follow after the heathen schools?
I was standing by when Jesus died;
What I call’d humility, they call’d pride. 95
He who loves his enemies betrays his friends.
This surely is not what Jesus intends;
But the sneaking pride of heroic schools,
And the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ virtuous rules;
For He acts with honest, triumphant pride, 100
And this is the cause that Jesus dies.
He did not die with Christian ease,
Asking pardon of His enemies:
If He had, Caiaphas would forgive;
Sneaking submission can always live. 105
He had only to say that God was the Devil,
And the Devil was God, like a Christian civil;
Mild Christian regrets to the Devil confess
For affronting him thrice in the wilderness;
He had soon been bloody Caesar’s elf, 110
And at last he would have been Caesar himself,
Like Dr. Priestly and Bacon and Newton --
Poor spiritual knowledge is not worth a button
For thus the Gospel Sir Isaac confutes:
‘God can only be known by His attributes; 115
And as for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost,
Or of Christ and His Father, it’s all a boast
And pride, and vanity of the imagination,
That disdains to follow this world’s fashion.’
To teach doubt and experiment 120
Certainly was not what Christ meant.
What was He doing all that time,
From twelve years old to manly prime?
Was He then idle, or the less
About His Father’s business? 125
Or was His wisdom held in scorn
Before His wrath began to burn
In miracles throughout the land,
That quite unnerv’d the Seraph band?
If He had been Antichrist, Creeping Jesus, 130
He’d have done anything to please us;
Gone sneaking into synagogues,
And not us’d the Elders and Priests like dogs;
But humble as a lamb or ass
Obey’d Himself to Caiaphas. 135
God wants not man to humble himself:
That is the trick of the Ancient Elf.
This is the race that Jesus ran:
Humble to God, haughty to man,
Cursing the Rulers before the people 140
Even to the Temple’s highest steeple,
And when He humbled Himself to God
Then descended the cruel rod.
‘If Thou Humblest Thyself, Thou humblest Me.
Thou also dwell’st in Eternity. 145
Thou art a Man: God is no more:
Thy own Humanity learn to adore,
For that is My spirit of life.
Awake, arise to spiritual strife,
And Thy revenge abroad display 150
In terrors at the last Judgement Day.
God’s mercy and long suffering
Is but the sinner to judgement to bring.
Thou on the Cross for them shalt pray --
And take revenge at the Last Day.’ 155
Jesus replied, and thunders hurl’d:
‘I never will pray for the world.
Once I did so when I pray’d in the Garden;
I wish’d to take with Me a bodily pardon.’
Can that which was of woman born, 160
In the absence of the morn,
When the Soul fell into sleep,
And Archangels round it weep,
Shooting out against the light
Fibres of a deadly night, 165
Reasoning upon its own dark fiction,
In doubt which is self-contradiction?
Humility is only doubt,
And does the sun and moon blot out,
Rooting over with thorns and stems 170
The buried soul and all its gems.
This life’s five windows of the soul
Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole,
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not thro’, the eye 175
That was born in a night, to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in the beams of light.

Did Jesus teach doubt? or did He
Give any lessons of philosophy,
Charge Visionaries with deceiving, 180
Or call men wise for not believing? ...

Was Jesus born of a Virgin pure
With narrow soul and looks demure?
If He intended to take on sin
The Mother should an harlot been, 185
Just such a one as Magdalen,
With seven devils in her pen.
Or were Jew virgins still more curs’d,
And more sucking devils nurs’d?
Or what was it which He took on 190
That He might bring salvation?
A body subject to be tempted,
From neither pain nor grief exempted;
Or such a body as might not feel
The passions that with sinners deal? 195
Yes, but they say He never fell.
Ask Caiaphas; for he can tell. --
‘He mock’d the Sabbath, and He mock’d
The Sabbath’s God, and He unlock’d
The evil spirits from their shrines, 200
And turn’d fishermen to divines;
O’erturn’d the tent of secret sins,
And its golden cords and pins,
In the bloody shrine of war
Pour’d around from star to star, -- 205
Halls of justice, hating vice,
Where the Devil combs his lice.
He turn’d the devils into swine
That He might tempt the Jews to dine;
Since which, a pig has got a look 210
That for a Jew may be mistook.
"Obey your parents." -- What says He?
"Woman, what have I to do with thee?
No earthly parents I confess:
I am doing my Father’s business." 215
He scorn’d Earth’s parents, scorn’d Earth’s God,
And mock’d the one and the other’s rod;
His seventy Disciples sent
Against Religion and Government --
They by the sword of Justice fell, 220
And Him their cruel murderer tell.
He left His father’s trade to roam,
A wand’ring vagrant without home;
And thus He others’ labour stole,
That He might live above control. 225
The publicans and harlots He
Selected for His company,
And from the adulteress turn’d away
God’s righteous law, that lost its prey.’
Was Jesus chaste? or did He 230
Give any lessons of chastity?
The Morning blushèd fiery red:
Mary was found in adulterous bed;
Earth groan’d beneath, and Heaven above
Trembled at discovery of Love. 235
Jesus was sitting in Moses’ chair.
They brought the trembling woman there.
Moses commands she be ston’d to death.
What was the sound of Jesus’ breath?
He laid His hand on Moses’ law; 240
The ancient Heavens, in silent awe,
Writ with curses from pole to pole,
All away began to roll.
The Earth trembling and naked lay
In secret bed of mortal clay; 245
On Sinai felt the Hand Divine
Pulling back the bloody shrine;
And she heard the breath of God,
As she heard by Eden’s flood:
‘Good and Evil are no more! 250
Sinai’s trumpets cease to roar!
Cease, finger of God, to write!
The Heavens are not clean in Thy sight.
Thou art good, and Thou alone;
Nor may the sinner cast one stone. 255
To be good only, is to be
A God or else a Pharisee.
Thou Angel of the Presence Divine,
That didst create this Body of Mine,
Wherefore hast thou writ these laws 260
And created Hell’s dark jaws?
My Presence I will take from thee:
A cold leper thou shalt be.
Tho’ thou wast so pure and bright
That Heaven was impure in thy sight, 265
Tho’ thy oath turn’d Heaven pale,
Tho’ thy covenant built Hell’s jail,
Tho’ thou didst all to chaos roll
With the Serpent for its soul,
Still the breath Divine does move, 270
And the breath Divine is Love.
Mary, fear not! Let me see
The seven devils that torment thee.
Hide not from My sight thy sin,
That forgiveness thou may’st win. 275
Has no man condemnèd thee?’
‘No man, Lord.’ ‘Then what is he
Who shall accuse thee? Come ye forth,
Fallen fiends of heavenly birth,
That have forgot your ancient love, 280
And driven away my trembling Dove.
You shall bow before her feet;
You shall lick the dust for meat;
And tho’ you cannot love, but hate,
Shall be beggars at Love’s gate. 285
What was thy love? Let Me see it;
Was it love or dark deceit?’
‘Love too long from me has fled;
’Twas dark deceit, to earn my bread;
’Twas covet, or ’twas custom, or 290
Some trifle not worth caring for;
That they may call a shame and sin
Love’s temple that God dwelleth in,
And hide in secret hidden shrine
The naked Human Form Divine, 295
And render that a lawless thing
On which the Soul expands its wing.
But this, O Lord, this was my sin,
When first I let these devils in,
In dark pretence to chastity 300
Blaspheming Love, blaspheming Thee,
Thence rose secret adulteries,
And thence did covet also rise.
My sin Thou hast forgiven me;
Canst Thou forgive my blasphemy? 305
Canst Thou return to this dark hell,
And in my burning bosom dwell?
And canst Thou die that I may live?
And canst Thou pity and forgive?’
Then roll’d the shadowy Man away 310
From the limbs of Jesus, to make them His prey,
An ever devouring appetite,
Glittering with festering venoms bright;
Crying ‘Crucify this cause of distress,
Who don’t keep the secrets of holiness! 315
The mental powers by diseases we bind;
But He heals the deaf, the dumb, and the blind.
Whom God has afflicted for secret ends,
He comforts and heals and calls them friends.’
But, when Jesus was crucified, 320
Then was perfected His galling pride.
In three nights He devour’d His prey,
And still He devours the body of clay;
For dust and clay is the Serpent’s meat,
Which never was made for Man to eat. 325

Seeing this False Christ, in fury and passion
I made my voice heard all over the nation.
What are those ...

I am sure this Jesus will not do,
Either for Englishman or Jew. 330