Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

Tetralogy, people. Tetralogy!

From this story at the Dark Horizons website, it looks like we’re finally going to get that run of Tetris movies everybody’s been clamoring for.

But a trilogy?

For TETRIS?!? Am I the only one who see how big an aesthetic blunder this is?!?!?!

And of course such a whopping aesthetic blunder means many, many missed marketing opportunities.

We obviously need FOUR of these movies.

Tetralogy, people. Tetralogy.

Yeesh.

I ask again: why am I not running a major studio?

Another Poem about a Painter

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Young Bacchus, Bitten By A Lizard
It wasn’t just bad PR plus zero
support from Cesari—Amerighi lacked
self-control and a sense of tact
from the start. But, oh, the chiaroscuro!

Vatican Digitizes a 1,600-Year-Old Illuminated Manuscript of the ‘Aeneid’

Vatican Aeneid

Here is a link some of you—JOB(e)s in particular—might find of interest: The Vatican digitizing a manuscript of Vergil’s Aeneid from the year 400 (or thereabouts).

In Rome, around the year 400, a scribe and three painters created an illuminated manuscript of Virgil’s Aeneid, illustrating the ancient hero Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Italy. 1,600 years later, the Vatican has digitized the surviving fragments of this manuscript. Known as the Vergilius Vaticanus, it’s one of the world’s oldest versions of the Latin epic poem, and you can browse it for free online.

The digitization project is part of a years-long effort by Digita Vaticana, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Vatican Library, to convert the library’s manuscripts into digital format. Founded in 1451, the library is home to some 80,000 manuscripts and texts, including drawings and notes by the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo. Digita Vaticana’s goal is to convert these “40 million pages into 45 quadrillion bytes,” according to its website.

That’s old. That’s ancient, to distinguish it from medieval, and specifically those manuscripts transmitted to us by medieval monks.

Quin Finnegan on Rediscovering Pokémon

Yikes! It’s tough reading all that Heidegger when nefarious creatures like this show up in your living room …
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But having ably disposed of “Gastly”, he’s now taking the offensive—hunting for more of these hobgoblins born of technology and our ever-shrinking minds. IMG_0896

And taking in an architecture lesson or two along the way.
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Jonathan Sacks on Rediscovering Our Moral Purpose

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, this year’s winner of Great Britain’s distinguished Templeton Prize, delivered an exceptional acceptance speech on “Rediscovering Our Moral Purpose”. He begins with the concept of outsourcing, of all things, tracing its development in history and in the progress of the West in particular. And then contrasts this outsourcing with a necessary spiritual Korrektiv, insourcing.

Here is an excerpt; read the whole thing here.

Our computers and smartphones have developed larger and larger memories, from kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes, while our memories, and those of our children have got smaller and smaller. In fact, why bother to remember anything these days if you can look it up in a microsecond on Google or Wikipedia?

But here, I think, we made a mistake. We confused history and memory, which are not the same thing at all. History is an answer to the question, “What happened?” Memory is an answer to the question, “Who am I?” History is about facts, memory is about identity. History is his-story. It happened to someone else, not me. Memory is my story, the past that made me who I am, of whose legacy I am the guardian for the sake of generations yet to come. Without memory, there is no identity. And without identity, we are mere dust on the surface of infinity.

Lacking memory we have forgotten one of the most important lessons to have emerged from the wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century and the new birth of freedom that followed. Even to say it sounds antiquarian but it is this: a free society is a moral achievement. Without self-restraint, without the capacity to defer the gratification of instinct, and without the habits of heart and deed that we call virtues, we will eventually lose our freedom.

That is what Locke meant when he contrasted liberty, the freedom to do what we ought, with licence, the freedom to do what we want. It’s what Adam Smith signalled when, before he wrote The Wealth of Nations, he wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It’s what Washington meant when he said, “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people.” And Benjamin Franklin when he said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” And Jefferson when he said, “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Two Poems about 4th of July Picnics

At the Very First 4th of July Picnic
The host announced to those about to eat,
“BBQ is served. Don’t dally! Napkins
are in short supply. Latecomers will need
to use their petticoats and galligaskins!”

At the Two Hundredth 4th of July Picnic
The host couldn’t drink enough to slake
his thirst after so much Shake ’n Bake.

Two Poems about Animals and their Proprietors

Land of the Free: the Story of Stalking Cat
After talking it over with his Tribal Chief,
Dennis decided to follow the Way of the Tiger.
A psychiatrist might diagnose zoanthropy,
but this new kitten decided he was no man. So he
had surgeons do some work a la feline motif:
implanted whiskers, a bifurcated lip, pointed ears,
a lot of tattooed stripes (he didn’t buy fur),
and the final touch – teeth filed sharp as shears.

Vicious and Superstitious
An auger watching the flight paths of birds
might as well look at turds,
a haruspex can’t really see the future quiver
in bird guts or a sheep liver,
and determining guilt seems awfully chancy
in resorting to alphitomancy.

Would-be director of The Moviegoer set to release The Voyage of Time


It’s ridiculous to say there are amazing visuals here – of course there are – most of them familiar, or as it now needs to be said, “Malickian”. I’m looking forward to seeing both versions, the IMAX narrated by Brad Pitt and the feature narrated by Cate Blanchett. I have to admit, I’m somewhat more excited about the latter, as I’m looking forward to knowing more about the content. To say nothing of Blanchett’s voice.

Regarding the content, we know Malick was/is fairly interested in Heidegger (which may well have been what drew him to Percy, if not versa-vice), author, of course of Being and Time. He has an early book called “The History of the Concept of Time”, and it’ll be interesting to see if Malick draws on this at all, or deals with the chicken-and-egg question of whether it is Time or Being that is primordial (Heidegger’s big question in B&T).

If we speak of Time (as primordial), do we not assume that Time “is”? If we speak of Being as primordial, does Time then become illusory (or perhaps even non-being)? In short, why the voyage “of” time, rather than “through” time? If time itself is the Voyager, through or by what does it actualize itself (or become actualized)? Well, Being, perhaps. I would like to see if/how Malick will reveal these questions visually.

As I’ve noted here before, film and music are mediums uniquely fit for exploring these ideas, as they themselves exist (rather than simply being represented, à la Dali in The Persistence of Memory) in time.

And of course Augustine. What a treat to hear Cate Blanchett read from chapter 11 of Confessions!

Poem for Memorial Day

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For the Union Dead

Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens’ shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage’s earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city’s throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound’s gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man’s lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die–
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year–
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .

Shaw’s father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son’s body was thrown
and lost with his “niggers.”

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the “Rock of Ages”
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessèd break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Hey!

The blog is still here! I clicked on over, fully expecting a 414 page instead of the spooky ol’ banner.

Here are a few items of note, courtesy of the indefatigable Karey Perkins:

WALKER PERCY’S 100TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY

In honor of Walker Percy’s 100th Birthday Anniversary, proposals addressing any topic or area celebrating Walker Percy’s life, his fiction, or his non-fiction are welcome. Send 300-word abstracts, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Dr. Karey Perkins, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, at both kareyp@uscb.edu and kareyperkins@gmail.com by June 7.

WALKER PERCY: A CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION

In 1962 Walker Percy wrote, “Southern fiction, in one sense of the word, ran out its string at Faulkner’s death and has not known where to go since. It has been hung up on the myth, both the splendor of the myth and its decay, on the people who come after and who are haunted by the myth. But it has not known what to make of the people who come after that, who grew up in the South and who don’t even remember that there is anything to remember.” Percy’s observations are especially noteworthy on the 100 anniversary of his birth. Is what he said in 1962 proved to be validated since then—and has an awareness of “not remembering that here is anything to remember” actually embodied a typical paradox for which Percy is noted? The session invites papers on all aspects of Walker Percy’s writings, particularly as they enlarge the scope of Southern writing to other fields–literary, theological, and sociological. By June 9th, please send a 200-word abstract, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Benjamin Alexander, Franciscan University of Steubenville, at balexander@franciscan.edu.

WALKER PERCY’S UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS

Much of Walker Percy’s fiction and non-fiction writing is social commentary. At least two novels – Love in the Ruins and The Thanatos Syndrome – may be called dystopian or post-apocalyptic. His numerous essays on race relations, on secular materialism, on misguided “self-help” books in a postmodern world seem to indicate that he suspected 20th century America was a dystopia itself. Additionally, Walker Percy’s personal life included social action in his local community and through the Catholic Church. Proposals addressing the SAMLA 88 theme “Utopia/Dystopia: Whose Paradise Is It?” in Walker Percy’s fiction, non-fiction, or life are welcome. Send 300-word abstracts, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Dr. Karey Perkins, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, at kareyp@uscb.edu by June 7.

See y’all in 2017!