when the sky looks like this i feel a sense of relief. a sense of calm and rest. that there is something so much bigger than me. i need this feeling at least 12 times a day.

isn't it beautiful? isn't it such a release to just indulge in the beauty of the color and enormity of it?

indulgent like a little child falling into her grandma's arms for long, much needed nap.

remember that?

my grandmothers both gave the best hugs. they had big bosoms that just inflicted relaxation and drowsiness immediately upon impact .

even as an adult i loved that feeling. i have an aunt that to this day will grab my head and smoosh it into her chest when she hugs me. 

how do you get that kind of comfort?

do you ever crave that kind of comfort? the comfort of 'home'?

this is my drug of choice, among others.

these were taken through the front windshield while driving through Mississippi. 


Thersites said…
I suppose that's the advantage in living in places with a wide open horizon. I also loved being at sea. You could see storms off in the distance, and knew exactly what to expect... even if the sea hadn't already telegraphed its' presence in the waves.

As for the feeling of being hugged by a large bosomed woman, I know what you mean. It's that memory from infancy of being swaddled and fed... of "surrender".
Jen said…
The first few times I saw the ocean (I was a teenager), I had such a feeling of familiarity. Growing up on the high plains does bring that same experience of feeling so small on a wide open horizon. I love it.

Thersites said…
then we start using language (instead of photos)... and this happens....

Christa Wolf's classic GDR novel Divided Sky (1963) describes the subjective effect of division in Germany, Manfred, who chose the West, said to his lover Rita, whom he met for the last time:

Even if our lands are divided, we will always share the same sky with you

But Rita, who chooses to stay in the East, gives him a bittersweet answer:

No, they divided the sky first.

Even if the crimes of the East are denied in the novel, it is important to establish that the ultimate ground of our "worldly" divisions and quarrels is always the "divided sky". The division of the sky is the division of the (symbolic) universe in which we reside in a much more radical and exclusionary sense, and the bearer and instrument of this divisive action is our language, because it is our language of the environment that sustains our way of living reality. In other words, the real divisive element is not our primitive and selfish interests, but our language. Because of language, we can live in a "world apart" from our neighbors, even if we live in the same neighborhood as them.

From the book Sema Karmakarma (Zizek, "Heaven in Disorder", 2021) translated from Turkish
Thersites said…
Perhaps that is why it is so psychologically healing to gaze at the wide open spaces under one big sky.... it makes the many "one" again. It makes us feel "whole" and not apart.
Jen said…
I think that's definitely it.
Jen said…
Well that was just beautiful. ❤️
I'm still picturing a crackling fragrance... ;)
I sit before a campfire... I close my eyes... the crackling fragrance of oak assaults my consciousness. The wind has shifted.
nicrap said…
Youth passed me by outside my window just now, wearing long, wet tresses, scarlet lipstick and a bewitching scent.
What is "intelligence"? The ability of an animal to successfully calculate/ determine a Deleuzian "line of flight" to "liberty"/ "freedom" and escape a predator, or capture a prey.
...based upon AQ of predator/ prey.
Rousseau's racing games in 'Emile'

Those were my "awakenings" last night.
nicrap said…
Oh yes! I remember the song very well.
So what's your predatory line of flight?
nicrap said…
Lol. She is I think less than half my age, I wouldn't be a predator but a pervert. ;) Besides, I've been seeing a wonderful girl these days. :)

As Lacan would say, "Never compromise your desire"... ;)
Jen said…
Tell us about the woman you've been seeing. But tell us first, is she a girl or a woman?
nicrap said…
lol. Sorry jen! Gentlemen don't kiss and tell, says the Youtube.
You're not going to get away that easily... you need to describe "wonderful"... and it'll need to surpass a girl from Ipanema.
...and is it Casual? Committed? Or "still shopping but may not be much longer"?
Jen said…
I'm just asking you to elaborate on the person, not the activity!
nicrap said…
Et tu, Brutus! ;)
I come not to praise Caesar, but to bury him.... ;)
Thersites said…
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason! —Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me. {He weeps.}

Thersites said…
Don't hide her from our gaze...

...after all, we've seen you. ;)
Thersites said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thersites said…
...and you needn't exhibit her entire eidos. A hand, a lock of hair will do.
Jen said…
I enjoyed the video about the gaze. Probably one of the only times I grasped what Sarte and Foucault thought about the gaze and it's power dynamic. It would be interesting to start writing down moments in time that I recall the gaze and the effect it had on me.

But back to you, Nikhil! Spill the beans!
Says the "powerful" wielder of the "photographer's gaze"... ;)
"Give us a snapshot to immortalize in memory, and to serve as and external aid to memory for the cyborgs and the post-humans amongst us" ;)
...objectify her subjectivity for our purposes! For surely you may one day mortify her for your own... ;)
Jen said…
I don't know that my camera's gaze is very powerful at all! I tend to gaze upon clouds nowadays...
nicrap said…
Who is your favorite Mark Antony? I have heard John Gilgeud dissing Brando for his role in the 1953 film but to me his 'i have come to bury caesar' speech is one of the greatest performances by any actor.
nicrap said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
...all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

....and this may be one play that will never be written.... :(
nicrap said…
I had begun working on a short story last August, had written only a few passages before I injured my neck. And now I think I will never finish it. For one, I can't seem to get back to writing at all; for another, the idea has lost its appeal to me. Still it seemed like a good story at the time. Actually let me send it to you, unfinished tho it may be. Who knows maybe you will finish it. Hotmail isn't it?
nicrap said…
Or maybe Jen will. :)
Jen said…
It's a very funny premise. Sarte as a role model is funny in itself!
nicrap said…
Not really. I mean it was a piece of apocrypha as it is mentioned at the beginning of the story. Sartre never lived out of a suitcase himself, at least as far as I know. And yet somewhere in connection with him I seem to remember reading about this idea ... Of living out of a suitcase. I can't recall the exact connection but there it was, and it's has stayed with me, thus giving me the idea for the story.

But why the idea of Sartre as a role model itself should be funny, can you explain?
Jen said…
Well it struck me as funny because here he is about to commit to a life united with another person, but at the same time he's got an eccentric role model and he's determined to live out of a suitcase. I guess as a woman who is married, I find that whole scenario humorous. Although if living out of a suitcase means traveling, I would be all for it. As far as me finding humor in Sarte as a role model, I just find him funny. I'll probably go to hell for it, but I find humor in a cross-eyed existentialist French philosopher.

He seems like a Mel Brooks character to me.
Jen said…
But then again, if it's only 1/10th of the actual story, my initial impression is just that. Not to mention I've been watching a lot of comedies lately so I'm just in that frame of mind.

nicrap said…
No, you are right. But, you see, he doesn't know it yet. He hasn't yet met the girl, or fallen in love; he will, eventually. And that would provide us with the main conundrum of the story. Actually, there are two ways (at least to my mind) the story could unfold; two different levels of conundrum, you might say; and I could have gone with either.
nicrap said…
I am almost glad you didn't add pockmarked and swarthy. :P
Jen said…
Pockmarked and swarthy is human. Cross-eyed in a turtle neck, smoking a pipe is a character! Lol
Jen said…
I hope you finish it, Nikhil.
nicrap said…
I hope so, too, my friend. Thank you!
Some serious foreshadowing. What is the cost of a dream? And if we knew, are we sure that we would be willing to pay it?

I met my wife my freshman year at the Academy. I had a far different vision of my future come my senior year...

I suppose that the price of the dream I had begun with became too high.

For as Jen alluded, it is not with money that one can measure a life lived out of a suitcase chasing a dream.
For ultimately, it is our dreams that gives our lives meaning. It forms that certain surplus je ne sais quoi that we add to reality that grants us meaning, yours slightly different from mine.

To change means to dream differently. Perhaps this is why it's so difficult to remain in the "character" of our character.

And why the internet and virtual worlds can feel so liberating... an escape from the prisons of ourselves
It's hard to change our dreams. That's probably why I remain such an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud.
Does it advance my dream? It's "good". Does it impair/impede it? It's "bad". Is it a "systemic" impediment/ obstacle? It's "evil". What does it mean? Ask my dream.
...but through which gate did my original dream pass?

The gates of horn and ivory are a literary image used to distinguish true dreams (corresponding to factual occurrences) from false. The phrase originated in the Greek language, in which the word for "horn" is similar to that for "fulfill" and the word for "ivory" is similar to that for "deceive". On the basis of that play on words, true dreams are spoken of as coming through the gates of horn, false dreams as coming through those of ivory.
nicrap said…
So what was the original dream, FJ?
nicrap said…
By the way, I had a different story in my mind: no dream versus reality motif in it. Rajesh does meet a girl, yes, and they do fall in love, but he is not called upon to choose between her and his dream. No 'girl trouble' for him, so to say. Instead, the story's central conundrum is provided by something else entirely.
nicrap said…
...and not money, either
I was attending the US Merchant Marine Academy. My dream was to sail the world as 3rd/2nd/1st Assistant then Chief Engineer. Such a life demands 6 months at sea a year. It's NOT a job for a "married" man who has to come home every evening at 6pm and take the kids to soccer practice. It's a solitary life.

I had to "change the dream" to something more "conventional". My first job offer was as a 3rd Assistant on an oil rig in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. It would have meant 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off with a wife in Aberdeen, alone. My 2nd job offer was a shipyard in San Francisco 50 miles from my childhood home. I took it.
The pay differential was $65K + unlimmitted OT vs $19.2 per year. It was quite a step down.
It was a life of "living out of a suitcase" that I abandoned for family/ stability.
So the "cost" of abandoning my dream was between %50-100K a year in 1979 dollars. ;)
...but then again, some things you just can't put a $ value on...
...at least so far as adjusting my "reality" to match the dream was concerned.
Sorry... there were a couple of comments that disappeared above the one above.

The 1st was something along the lines of ... "I did get to live the dream for a little while. I spent a year at sea. When I got back from sea for the last time, I asked my GF to marry me. And that's when the dream began to change."
I still value my alone time... but "family" takes precedence.
I guess that I'm still trying to figure out the difference between an "ivory" and a "horn" gate.
I mean... aren't some horns made of ivory?
Thersites said…
...of course, the costs of pursuing adapting reality to match the altered dream, the ivory dream, can be much, much steeper. :(
nicrap said…
Quite by coincidence I came across this interview of king Edward the 8th yesterday on the YouTube. Very, how should I say it, topical. The link: https://youtu.be/I02fZDd-BBc
As Jacques Lacan would say, "Never compromise your desire."
*Spoiler Alert: Sandman Episode 10*

nicrap said…
Is it any good? The series?
We watched it. I wouldn't say it was great. There's a standalone episode that we watched last night on Netflix that begins with an animated cat-dream and ends with a story of a writer who has captured the muse Calliope (billed as Episode 11) that you could watch to get a taste for it completely independent of the first 10 episodes of season 1. I know episode 1 isn't all that revealing... and I really didn't even start "enjoying" it until about episode 5 or 6 when I had got to understand the characters a bit more..
nicrap said…
Watched a couple of episodes. All over the place I sud say.
nicrap said…
See if you find time to watch Rose Island. It's on Netflix. Italian, English dubbed. I have an idea you would like it very much. I did.
Jen said…
Do y'all like bluegrass?


I've been watching Only Murders In The Building on Hulu. It's got Steve Martin and Martin Short and it's so good.
Thersites said…
Okay, that had "elements" of bluegrass (steel guitars and banjos)... but I wouldn't call it bluegrass.

And we've watched all of "Only Murders in the Bldg"... although I admit to now being worried about it "jumping the shark" in Season 3 with a murder "outside" the bldg.

@ nikhil - I'll look for it!

nicrap said…
And I will for "Only Murders in the Building..." :)
Jen said…
You wouldn't call it bluegrass?!? 😏
I watched Rose Island this morning. I did like it. In many ways, it was like Huxley's "Island".

I posted last week on Foucault's heterotopias described in "Of Other Spaces". Rose Island certainly was one of those "spaces", but much as in Huxley's "Island", such spaces are never left to remain. They're too much a temptation for those "repressed" and seeking escape in the vain belief that "but for some law forbidding X, I would be happy". And when you finally get that X, you quickly discover that it wasn't X after all, but Y. Such is the Objet petit 'a.

Regardless, those currently forbidding X will undoubtedly find a way of preventing X from happening. And of course, that's what happened on Rose Island.
The wife and I are also watching "Emily in Paris" now and enjoying that series very much. Our daughter did a semester abroad with NYU in Paris, and so in many ways its a bit of "vicarious living". Nostalgia... it's hard to resist.
Now we have people telling us that we "can't do or say X" and are trying to censor us on the internet (cyber space). There's no escaping the insanity...

If I had to choose one word to identify the uniqueness of the West it would be “Faustian.” This is the word Oswald Spengler used to designate the “soul” of the West. He believed that Western civilization was driven by an unusually dynamic and expansive psyche. The “prime-symbol” of this Faustian soul was “pure and limitless space.” This soul had a “tendency towards the infinite,” a tendency most acutely expressed in modern mathematics. The “infinite continuum,” the exponential logarithm and “its dissociation from all connexion with magnitude” and transference to a “transcendent relational world” were some of the words Spengler used to describe Western mathematics. But he also wrote of the “bodiless music” of the Western composer, “in which harmony and polyphony bring him to images of utter ‘beyondness’ that transcend all possibilities of visual definition,” and, before the modern era, of the Gothic “form-feeling” of “pure, imperceptible, unlimited space”

- ("Decline of the West", Vol.1, Form and Actuality [Alfred Knopf, 1923] 1988, pp. 53-90).
Jen said…
I'll give Rose Island a watch, Nikhil.

FJ, who are the commenters at Farmers Letters? (((TC)))? Who is Q? Tell me, tell me!
Are you supporting Trump again this time? I have more questions...
(((TC))) is beamish. I think Q might be "mysterefox"... but I could be wrong. This was the first time I've seen him use that avatar, if it is. The writing/content style is that of mysterefox though.

As for Trump, I'm not really supporting him, but I do prefer him and his recommended candidates to the establishment neocons. We need to find someone new to rally around who shares an "America first" ideology, but until that someone "goes through the fire" as Trump has, it'll be hard to distinguish the "sincere" candidates from crass imitators (ala DeSantis). There's a lot of economic and social pain looming on the horizon. We'll need some real fighters if we're to minimize it.
You'll know the best Republican candidates by the actions of their opponents and just how wee-wee -upped they get in attacking them.
Jen said…
I'm a Liz Cheney supporter. I hope Trump never serves in office again. He's like a toddler with no impulse control and an occasional good idea (giving veterans access to their own doctors). But honestly? I'm so disgusted with the whole situation that I've turned the media off and actively try to avoid the news. If I could do ANYTHING to affect ANYTHING I might try to be more informed.
P.s. I only know who one of those commenters is. I'm out of the loop (thankfully).
Trump is really too old for this, I agree. And the whole political situation is completely hyper-real (a reality tv show), so you're probably better off not paying it much mind.

I'm not a Liz Cheney fan.

IMO, the government has become partisan and is now trying to "punish" Trump supporters. They just "double jeopardy-ed" Steve Bannon on new charges that Trump had already pardoned him for (a political prosecution). Politics shouldn't be criminalized. They're trying to threaten and intimidate people. There are people still in jail for simply walking on the grounds of the capitol on Jan. 6.

This is no longer the country I grew up in.
Jen said…
I agree, things are out of hand, to put it mildly. The govt is partisan, and so are the voters. It's too extreme on both sides. My kids think it's ok to púnch a ñazï. They have no concept of the beauty of the first amendment, no matter how much we talk about it. It's scary times.
Indeed. It's going to get a lot worse, I'm afraid. Nemesis hates hubris, and there's plenty to go around.
Jen said…
I read a book you both might enjoy. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell. It's a fictionalized telling of Shakespeare's son's life. It's beautifully written.
I'll have to keep my eyes open for it. The name seems easy to remember... ;)
I haven't had much success trying to read Foucault. I can only muster half a dozen pages at a sitting. I love the concepts, but it takes him too long to develop them for my taste. I suppose I could use a quicker read.
...an interesting review.

Let's hope that you, Jen, don't consider yourself a "vanishing mediator" be Nikhil and I.... for we would be much saddened were you to vanish, or replace the "Jen" with more "...'s" :(
...for were you to vanish entirely would leave us only the "merged" new concept, one which I doubt any of us individually could carry off successfully, alone.
...although I will say that a father should become a "vanishing mediator" in his children's lives, their mother should always remain a constant, and reassuring, presence. For the children need to set their own "laws", for their father's never quite achieve the "ego ideal".
Would we all become "ubermensch" after passing through the abyss of the oft-feared Nietzschean nihilism?. Or would our soul's individually "progress" again, and again, through camel and lion to again become child through the doctrine of eternal recurrence?

Who knows. Certainly, not me.

And where the 'f is Nietzsche Girl????

If One is not, then nothing is. Plato, "Parmenides".
HAMLET: To be or not to be—that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep—
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia.—Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

-Shakespeare, "Hamlet"
...so many vanishing mediators... Ophelia, the Ghost of the king, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern,... and ultimately, Hamlet himself.

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well!
“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” - JFK
We need to reterritorialize something de-territorialized into a new category of something "Nerudish".

MICHEL Foucault opens his book The Order of Things with a paragraph that has become one of his most famous. Foucault describes a passage from “a certain Chinese encyclopedia” that, he claims, breaks up all the ordered surfaces of our thoughts. By “our” thoughts, he means Western thought in the modern era. The encyclopedia divides animals into the following categories: “a) belonging to the Emperor, b) embalmed, c) tame, d) sucking pigs, e) sirens, f) fabulous, g) stray dogs, h) included in the present classification, i) frenzied, j) innumerable, k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, l) et cetera, m) having just broken the water pitcher, n) that from a long way off look like flies.” Foucault writes that, thanks to “the wonderment of this taxonomy,” we can apprehend not only “the exotic charm of another system of thought” but also “the limitation of our own.” What the taxonomy or form of classification reveals, says Foucault, is that “there would appear to be, then, at the other extremity of the earth we inhabit, a culture … that does not distribute the multiplicity of existing things into any of the categories that make it possible for us to name, speak and think.” The stark impossibility of our thinking in this way, Foucault says, demonstrates the existence of an entirely different system of rationality.
Jen said…
Foucault isn't within reach for me right now. My brain is like a weak muscle just barely doing the basics. Foucault is long distance marathon running and I'm just walking from the front door to the mailbox.
Jen said…
And I've often wondered about NG and how she's doing.
nicrap said…
I had no idea that Shakespeare had a wife and her name was Anne Hathaway.
Jen said…
You should read Hamnet, Nikhil. It's beautiful. She went by Agnes and was maligned for her knowledge of herbs and remedies. I guess they thought she was a witch.
nicrap said…
Sorry, Jen! But I can't bear reading novels anymore ... Unless it is a novella, is it?
nicrap said…
I think a better entry point for accessing Foucault are his empirical works rather than his more theoretical works. My own personal favorite is Madness and Civilization. The material is familiar and also interesting. I also like The Birth of the Clinic.

But my absolute favorite are his college lectures that he gave during his stint in College de France. I like this latter phase tremendously.
Jen said…
Hamnet is an epic novel. Thankfully I came across the audiobook. Why can't you read novels anymore, Nikhil? Is it the length or something else? I think you already told me once.

I have 2 Foucault books so I'll go dig them out.
nicrap said…
Nothing more than 20000, even that I find a stretch nowadays. So, yes, it's length, Jen. Tho I confess I did listen to a few full-length novels while i was laid low recently ... Mostly Wodehouse but also a few Agatha Christie murder mysteries. And a few others.

By the way, tell me ... Is Wodehouse also popular in the US? Here he is quite a phenomenon.
nicrap said…
There were other reasons too; but i have forgotten them. :)
Jen said…
I don't know how popular he is but I downloaded My Man Jeeves and it's a hoot!
nicrap said…
There is also a television series, ITV it is I think. Jeeves and Wooster. Hugh Lauri and Stephen Fry are there. Available on YouTube.
I found a wonderful Youtube channel dedicated to peeling back the layers within the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical "The Phantom of the Opera". I recommend viewing the video's chronologically, although I must admit that I started with Lot 665 and then watched the "Mirror Bride Prop" video's before beginning the chronological approach... which I just started. The first to video's gave me so much rich insight, I couldn't/ can't stop...
Okay, confession... the two "prop" video's were definitely the best. The others were "interesting"... but not nearly as enlightening.

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