Tag Archives: novella

[updated] cheery sunday

Mr. Fred Holstein (hereinafter “Fred”) visited his good friend Mr. Paul Collie (hereinafter “Paul”) on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Paul had a pretty garden in his backyard, and being a good friend of his, Fred even helped him water the home-grown vegetables. After their joint labor, Paul and Fred had a good time with their favorite snacks at the garden. In fact, Fred’s new jokes were so funny that Paul fell out of a chair. Then they parted merrily before the sunset. Tolstoy would have enjoyed himself if he had joined them at the garden, for it was his kind of nice restful time.

Author’s Note: Since downloading the video from the app seems to take forever, I have included its Youtube version in my Blog.

Morning Train

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She should have caught the first morning train to the city instead of debauching her first cigarette of the day upon her arrival on the platform. She knew smoking as the first thing in the morning wasn’t the most salubrious thing to do, but she had to. It was her way of relieving her mind of its cares, anesthetizing her strains of everyday life for the moment of her sybaritic indulgence, which was the only hedonistic practice Julie insisted on keeping because no other things were permitted to her, literally, apart from all the virtuous and sensuous delights of all human creatures that denied her access.That’s probably a pathetically lame excuse for smoking, and the militantly health-conscious, priggish, and principled public would love to lambast her and her smoking habit not because they really care about her health but because they just do it, since anti-smoking is now the ethos of this ostensibly egalitarian era, the zeitgeist of New Social Totalitarianism that dictates Social Science Model Behaviors. And although Julie was never a forceful character, she was a free spirit with proud individuality, declaiming against the mob psychology that was grounded on suitably fashionable stance for demotic mores. She defied it in her own way, in her own solipsistic way.

The act of smoking could be conceived as one of the most highly advanced forms of humankind ever since the dawn of civilization when Prometheus, an ingenious and recalcitrant Titan, fashioned man out of clay and water, and then stole sacred fire for mankind to kindle civilization. In this regard, manipulating fire in the ritualistic process of lighting a cigarette and emitting smoke from it can be regarded as a sacred ritualistic performance to pay homage to the benefactor of civilization. Also, Ahura Mazda, a lord of heaven and light and the only true god of the prototype of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – Zarathustra, aka Zoroaster by the Greeks, was manifested in the form of Sacred Fire, symbolizing Purity, Illumination, Warmth, Enlightenment, and the Zeal. And there were also the Vestal Virgins, the ancient Roman priestesses who kept the celestial fire of Hestia, the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and domesticity.

Like the tortured thinker Kierkegaard anguishing over his existential conflicts caught between actions and religion, Julie was wretched in this world of collapsed grand narratives, fake news, volatile subjective opinions, hypocritical truths, and inflated egos, all fallen apart and adrift on a sea of the postmodernist detritus. What are am I in now? Are humankind really progressing for betterment or gearing up for its own destruction?

According to the ancient Greek peasant/poet Hesiod, known for didactic elements in his poems, there are Five Ages of Mankind: the first one is a “Golden Age,” governed by the Titans, the first generation of Greek mythology, where no words for sickness, war, and discord existed. You see, the Titans were alright for humans although their own children raised war against their parents, even castrating Uranos, the first ruler of the universe, the sky, Titan of Titans; the second one is a “Silver Age,” a reign of Zeus and the Olympians who were very much like us in temperament and characters with the exception of supernatural endowments of immortality, talents, and beauty (but not in the case of Hephaestus, the lame and ugly god of fire and blacksmith, and the husband of Aphrodite). Humans lived only 100 years, most of which were suspended in childhood, consequently making them sophomoric, childish, and disputatious; then came a “Bronze Age,” chockablock with warriors and more warriors spending their time in the office of war and conflict; the next “Heroic Age” was a modified version of Bronze Age in the sense that the characters of war were tinctured with noble and epic elements as in the case of Homer’s “Trojan War” in which Hector, a Trojan prince and the greatest warrior and Achilles, the Greek version of Hector, Odyssey, the timeless voyager, and Aeneas, a Trojan refuge who later founded Rome, the ancestor of the feral brothers Romulus and Remus; and the last and the lasting one is the “Iron Age,” in which we all live now. Hesiod might have foreseen where we are now in his poet’s eye; it’s a world of vehement contenders vying for the sponsorship and the possession of the beautiful, the powerful, the fortunate,… THE FITTEST. It’s a world of social Spencerism that yoked Darwinian evolutionism into philosophy to champion eugenics. And what will be the next age be like? Julie was curious, but then she was soon past caring because she wouldn’t live to tell anyway.

All of the aforesaid musing triggered by her smoking kept her occupied while waiting for the next train to the city. Julie looked around her at the station that began to be full with another batch of commuters, more men than women at a glance. Funny, Julie thought. Are there more men working in the city than women in this town? Or is it because there are just more men than women in this town? Anyway, the men looked just average without distinguishing outward appearances. Julie knew that beauty was only a skin deep, but being a highly aesthetically person, she could not help but observe physiognomies of whoever she saw in view. As a matter of fact, even the intellectual like Francis Bacon also took a person’s physiognomy into consideration that he even rationalized phrenology, a divinity by shapes of skulls. And then there was Karl Lagerfeld who realized that the look was what others made interested in your soul.

Woe betides anyone who would disagree to this dictum of our time, for she or he would be a downright hypocrite! The human faculty is instinctive, sentient, and physical. Beauty as an essential objective of intelligence is what calls a beholder’s attention to the other elements of its possessor in the sense that the poster of a movie gathers spectators to the doors of the movie theater.

Moreover, Julie could see what others could not see or decided to ignore because it’s regarded as trifle. Her sense, sensitivity, and sensibility were extraordinary to the point of exquisite uncanniness. Then, she jeered at the thought and dismissed it as a hocus-pocus, all jumbled up with meaningless bits of harebrained abracadabra in a shambolic array of grim masks that languished with faint tweaking in the left corners of their lips. That was another way of visceral escapism she sometimes took to bring herself to a different place from the rabble that seemed to belittle her nondescript exotic existence that didn’t fit their circle, their legion of the beauty. That’s the existential issues Julie had to face everyday – an acute sense of isolation, an unquenchable feeling of rejection, and a sentient awareness of her aloneness… To escape from the excessively dour, namby-pamby sentimentality, Julie looked at the magnificently rustic beauty of mountains and hills outside the moving windows of the train and fell into a reverie of the 19th century Wild West where she as a Pony Express Rider was riding on a rapid mustang across the land to deliver a Letter of Hope to a final station in the city.

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trumpet volunary – beginning

This is a beginning of my novella about a woman striving against the limitations imposed on her by reality with her fierce individuality and queasiness in her belief in destiny or fate. Her investment of spiritual discernment is her congenital gift, but that which makes her special defenestrates her to the perimeter of society like a cunning woman or herbalist in the Elizabethan England. Is she then a middling between an angel and a demon? Her search for meaning of her so-called life, the secret of her existence is the linchpin of this daringly attempted story I have decided to conjure up in the peculiar alchemy of fiction. 

 

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“Bedroom in Arles” by Vincent van Gogh

It was a cool, bright mid Monday morning, but Julie was still in bed, in bed with her still tenebrous somber spirit returning to possess her once again because she – yes, that is Julie Fustine, a single, plain woman nearing to the acquisition of stoicism in life – fell into a reverie of perfidious rebelliousness. But let the description of Julie not complacently settle on your a priori premature postulation that she was one of those feckless, mediocre, and nondescript women deprived of what the world could offer to being a woman. Nary a one bit. Her inner world was always in a perpetual restive tempest propelling her to sail adrift on her sea of life fraught with existential strains of life, which stunned her venturesome spirit and moored it in the stony stasis of inertia that was killing her softly. She was a hostage to fortune confined in existentialism that did not allow her all the privileges and rights of womanhood and femininity due to a covenant arbitrarily made and entered into by and among her ancestors and an ancient entity prior to her birth.

All this, all this preposterous truth was nothing but a real, physical one that was intractably lodged in Julie’s mind, and it was killing her softly. Nothing would be changed on my own, except the sure case of death, which would be a total force majeur situation. Christopher Malowe’s Dr. Faust was in league with me. And if I physically – and metaphysically – disappear from this earthly place, nothing would change. With such monologue in mind, Julie’s wish was to find herself in netherworld when she woke up in every new morning. No, it’s not pessimism or fatalism, but realism, whether you would agree or not with a sneer. W.H. Auden confirmed it in his poem, “Museum of Beautiful Arts.” Just as all the world’s great and terrible events, such as martyrdoms and nativities, took place amid everyday life, other people continued to do what they had been doing for their own interests. Whether or not you existed would not matter to the continuation of the world.

But as luck would have it, Julie woke up in this world yet again this morning, in this dysphoria of her failed and failing dreams, dwindled and dwindling aspirations, disappointed and disappointing facts, and frustrated and frustrating desires. How shall I die? It’s got be without inscrutable pains and gory details. The painless suicide will be the most cherished and coveted solution to expunge  all my baggage. Thus contemplated Julie in her usual serious self. Then came the phantasmal display of the last day of Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler. When Eva and Hitler knew that their ends were impending as the Reich was soon to fall, they hastened to kill their lives together. Hitler chose a pistol, but Eva – being nothing but a woman herself with a reason none other than being a woman – mulled over which method she would employ to murder herself in the least painful but the most feminine fashion. Out of the musing came a method of poisoning herself because it would preserve her pretty face even after death in order that anyone, the Allied or her German volks, finding her corpse would still think she was a pretty being.

This story and image of Eva Braun still imprinted in Julie’s mind and imbued her with the selfsame way of beautifully saying adieu to her pitiful life. Nevertheless, this was never realized or did not seem to be realized in any time soon for some clandestine reasons made by the Fate, or the Fury, or the beautiful goddess Fortuna. And where would God be placed among these pagan elements? He would eventually come and vanquish all in the name of one Omnipotent, Transcendent, and Infallible of All in no time.

So much so that in Julie’s religiously conditioned mannerism of reconciling herself to the limits imposed by the Reality of This World,  the image of God existed as a Bureaucrat aged somewhere between fifties and seventies with a Victorian-style mustache and gravitas that would sting you to fumble with awkwardness, making you feel like a nincompoop. Julie was not a forceful character, and she would turn herself away from this humiliated embarrassment and would figure things out for herself, even though it meant a series of trials and errors through a long period of time all alone. That was her daring independent spirit. That was her most treasured possession. That was what kept her going against her senses and sensibilities. That was her lifeline and only one.

So it was another morning, and a very first morning of a new week into the bargain. Intentionally waking up late in the morning, Julie forced herself to breakfast against her prior determination of foregoing food until she would find an employment that would make her earn the bare necessities however little it would pay her. Would this be my home forever? Would I become visible in this new land? Would I start anew in this place? Then Julie’s innermost secret and hidden questions came to surface at last: Could I chance to love? Could a man love me despite my plainness? My paroxysm of moodiness? My humdrum presence? CUT THE CRAP, concluded Julie, for all these supplementary wishes and vain hopes were verbose and verbatim Without A Job. Surely, not all pretty women with jobs – good jobs like professional ones held by the writers of all those popular memoirs bestriding NYT bestseller list for weeks – promenaded with their beaus, but Julie, always angst-ridden and precariously sentient – moped around the whirls of her mental pagoda of melancholy. She could not help making parallels with her life, comparing herself with the illustrious careers of her peers.

The third week of unemployment was hard to bear, and it was daunting to bear even with her renowned stoicism, but her real passionate self defied it, cursed it, and bitched it. Still worse, radio silence following so-called officious interviews was the worst bitch. “Don’t take it personally,” was a bromide, a humbug, a hokum out of human kindness, only to be cruel. Of course, it’s PERSONAL, when the parties engaged in the formal occasions were all humans made of blood and flesh, not robotics of steel and wire. That’s an infallible truth, n’est-pas? That’s a res ipsa loquitur case of negligence of truth, no?

All of this in her mind pushed her into the brink of a life’s cliff, leaving her one choice, and the only choice she could resort to: a Mephistophelean pact, it was. Yes, that’s darn right. She resolved to make a pact with the devil, and she was going to do it no matter what, either out of sheer spite against her fate or pure supernatural adventure or innocent curiosity. She’s up for it, and when she was in for the kill, she sure meant it. And it was today she would do it when the frivolous west sun was set, and the shadow of dark began to cover the horizon in the way the sky god Oruanos covered the earth goddess Gaia to make love to her furtively in the dark.

Modernization of Fishery is no about-face

RE: July 30th 2018 article of “A Fight over Amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act” by Robert F. Bukaly of The Los Angeles Times

photo (4)Ever a voracious reader of good books and sensible, informative articles of The Los Angeles Times, Paul Collie is immediately steeped in a headline of today’s newspaper; that is, an article he has just read in the Times about a fight over the present fishing laws. It is reported that some amendments were made to the laws, which are called “The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act”, a 42-year old rules regulating over-fishing of New England Sea Scallops and Bering Sea Crabs, and that they were approved by the House of Representatives on Monday. Subsequently, these changes have stirred a projected friction between fishermen and environmentalists mostly consisting of researchers, scientists, and radical natural/animal conservatory activist whose viewpoints are normally out of touch with realities.

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As Paul is perusing  the article word for word as if he were tattooing it on the cerebral globe of his brain,  Paul’s thoughts are embroiled in a swirl of agitation and indignation that begins to brew a collection of words in a form of cogent opinion. ‘The amendments were favorable to many people and will promote business growth, especially commercial and recreational fishing groups that need to hire many more people.  The changes relate to a provision of managers with flexibility and refocus of the Act on sound science. It’s all about modernizing the management of recreational fishing! But those recalcitrant opponents who know nothing or little about dealing with constraints of daily task think that it is a rollback of the landmark law! There is no risk of over-fishing delaying the re-population of depleted fish! Logical Fiddlesticks!’

Paul has cogent reasons for his argument for the amendments to the Act: the purpose of the changes is to remove unscientific time frames that unnecessarily restrict access to fishery, which encompasses an revocation of a requirement for annual catch limits for certain fish species as aforesaid as well as amending rules about requirements to rebuild the stocks. He strongly believes that reauthorizing of the Act seems and is believed to be long overdue. As a matter of fact, Paul cannot help but link the article with The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley that he read last year with relish. In it, Ridley tries to enlighten the reader about the necessities of changes as part of cultural evolution for the betterment of mankind and the world itself. However, Ridley lays bare the the pressure of militant environmentalists who are evermore against any changes made to the agricultural as well as fishing industry. To Paul, their flagrantly truculent opposition to any such changes is a luxury disguised in the package of humanity/nature that only pampers their far-flung elitist attitudes that disregards or overlooks the need of everyday life.

Such is Paul’s axiomatic opinion on the article that he feels strongly. It’s not because he has a means of business, nor is his conservative tendency, nor his hereditary solidification of genes in the Proud Scottish Collie Family; but because the Act was unnecessarily binding the hands and feet of independent fishermen and other proprietors of the business tied to and related to fishery to overtly harsh conditions in which their households suffered under the strains of financial hardship. Which also brings Paul back to Act I, Scene 2 of Hamlet that illustrates the the hypocrisy of environmentalist dogmatism:

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?

 

thanks-for-reading-Rok-Hardware

 

Sunday Episode – Avonlea Tunes

Little ones’ sweet days (Click here for what they did.)

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It’s still cold here in the town of Avonlea with the North Wind reigning his realm of winter. The snow has stopped falling since the last Tuesday, but the cold temperature still befalls the residents of Avonlea. However, the spirits of the little ones are all the more upbeat with their seemingly nonstop frolics and curious minds about what goes around them everyday.

Yesterday after attending their 9:00 AM Sunday mass in the Church of St. Mary, the little ones gathered again at Mrs. Lompstrompf’s cafe to confabulate with one another with sweets and refreshments. It was a reward for their attending the early morning mass despite the frigid temperature added by frightfully pungent wind slapping he little faces without mercy as they had marched forth to the church. What brave souls they were! That’s why Jesus told that we should be like children to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

So this was how they spent yesterday in Avonlea. However simple the story might be, it’s recorded in their chapters of life. That’s what a life is. The meaning of life depends upon whether or not we fulfill the demands placed upon our daily tasks. The little ones seem to know it. What about you, dear reader?

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