In Praise of Shamelessness

So much has been said about the Venezuelan crisis that adding more would equate to gilding the lily or carrying coal to Newcastle.

The following, then, is but a brief aside on the psychology and physiognomy of the protagonists of the ongoing coup, starting with Guaido’ – or “Guido” as Mike Pompeo’s re-baptism , while he anointed him as self-appointed president of Venezuela.

If the face is indeed an open book where men may read strange matters, (1) the attached image of the afore-said putative president of Venezuela proves the point. A camera immortalized him thus in 2009, during a political demonstration.

I have unprofessionally modified some extreme features to obscure a part of the body that I will forbear to mention out of my inviolable respect for the ladies. Continue reading

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The Waves of Time

An artistic rendering of the Waves of TimeThat all the world is a stage and all men and women merely players is a familiar and generally accepted proposition. But many, prompted by curiosity and helped by new information previously unknown or uneasily available, would like to know more about the play they are the unwitting players thereof.

Which transforms the frame of mind of the curious into that of a historian. In turn, this exposes him to the immediate problem of interpretation. Interpretation of the historical facts themselves, often accompanied by a likely change of his worldview, following the discovery of new facts. For historians themselves can modify their views, when forced by the train of circumstances. Continue reading

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Another View of the EU (European Union)

Image for Another View of the EU (European Union)The MacDonaldization of words forces many to lay that reason asleep which disturbs their gayety. Among recent new entries is ‘Brexit’, a word suitable to a speaking-club made of millions, where most half-hear what, if they heard the whole, they would but half-understand.

Furthermore, some words in time are debased by repetition, and can no longer be heard without an involuntary sense of annoyance. Hence I will spare my twenty-five readers further comments on how England will work-out her separation from the European Union. Official news suggests that about half of the citizenry is filled with all that sparkles in the eye of hope, while the other sees but penury ahead and thickens the gloom of one another. Continue reading

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The Cunning of Reason

Picture of Hegel with reference yo his theory of the cunning of reasonReading Hegel requires a reader in perfect health. The alternative is to attempt but a little at a time, which, after all, is the secret of all learning.

In the instance, Hegel says that history is but the realization of the idea of Reason – a proposition that, without further elucidation, may prompt many to wonder if Hegel said so while drunk. For a quick look at the ways of the world proves that he who places his hopes in reason, lives like a drunken sailor on a mast, ready with every nod, to tumble down into the fatal bowels of the deep.(1) Continue reading

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The Cardinal’s Letter

Cardinal Arundel of England preaching - illustration for the article The Cardinal's LetterSooner or later it was inevitable that the capitulation of the Vatican to the demands of a decadent culture and of powerful enemies would awaken the trumpet of sedition inside the Catholic Church.

As readers may already know, Cardinal Viganò recently wrote an open letter to Pope Francis asking him to resign. I will attempt to show the link connecting that letter to the actual resignations of Pope Benedict XVI, and to the recent bitter and acrimonious fight to prevent the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

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Tales Told The Millennials

illustration for Tale Told The Millennials - baby with sucker and smart phoneDecades are acknowledged historical markers, signaling the birth of a new generation, and the transition between adjacent but different cultural times. Since September 2001, the inaudible and noiseless foot of time (1) has advanced by almost two decades. And two generations are now alive who did not see 9/11, and will derive only from school, movies or conversation the knowledge of an event that happened during their infancy.

There is no intent here to debate the multiple explanations and theories of the deed, thus boring the reader to an Olympic degree. He that writes or talks longer than the reader or hearer is willing to attend, is guilty of an injury which he cannot repair, and takes away that which he cannot give. Continue reading

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Quo Vadis Vatican?

Pope Francis I at the wailing wallThe nature of the subject requires an introduction. A detective story does not require a murder, nor the events of a thriller need be fictional. Most detective stories include a murder because the gravity of the deed instills a sense of vicarious fear, triggers the pleasure of the riddle, and makes plausible the concealment that prompts curiosity.

Ever since the Bible and the Greek dramatists, riddle has been a compelling literary device, and the discovery of who-is-who and who-did-what has been the mainspring of great narratives.

 In ancient stories, however, a single physical fact, or an object, sufficed to disclose the identity of the perpetrator and lead to closure. Sophocles’ Oedipus and the biblical Joseph are examples. Continue reading

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From 1000 AD to WW3

Interior of Spanish Cathedral Example of Spanish Architecture and below an atomic explosionIf, according to Oscar Wilde, truth is a matter of style, even more so history is a matter of opinion. An obvious and unnecessary remark, were it not for the anger of some when they dissent with the thoughts of others. To them I would recommend, with all the earnestness at my disposal, the recollection of Mark Twain’s topic and soothing ruling that, “In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.”

We have no other device for returning through time, except that which operates in our minds with the materials provided by past generations. Therefore I declare myself a humble vessel, into which some ancient and nearer historians have poured the fruits of their findings. Continue reading

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Prisoners of Words

Cartoon of a puzzled puppet to illustrate the ambiguity of some recent words popularized by the nainstream media, for example, Russophobia and collusionDuring his recent meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump, answering a question form a US journalist, said that there was no reason to suspect Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. However, back on home soil, he said that what he meant was the opposite.

In the circumstances, there is some difficulty in assigning to either of Trump’s statements the property of truth. Continue reading

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Red-Wine, Health-Care, Shakespeare & Capitalism

A glass of red-wine and a Sjakespeare cartoonThose who follow the reigning fashion, or from fashion borrow their taste, will have observed that, after a de-facto 20 years of relative unpopularity, red wine has undergone a commercial and cultural renaissance.

Not that it was ever dead, but lore and clichés suggested that thoughtful solitude was the natural setting for a glass of red. Or, in a different setting, it was considered an erotic prelude to the real thing. An idea with a long tradition. In his “Art of Love,” the Latin poet Ovid says, Continue reading

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