Archive for ‘Literature’

August 8, 2014

King Richard III, died August 22, 1485, buried Saturday, March 28, 2015 — #Genealogy, #Royalty

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

RichardIII

King Richard III was dead, you must admit for over 100 years or this story will make no sense. So more than a century had expired before the bard ever gave him the tragedy treatment.  King Richard III ‘s reputation was such a cesspool  of swirling accusations and counter claims that by Shakespeare’s time he is portrayed as “a physically deformed machiavellian villain, albeit courageous and witty …”. Now it is indeed true that king died in battle (final and decisive battle of the War of Roses) and was hastily buried and his remains were lost for just over a half-millenia.

Richard III was lost and spent the the first 500+ years of his eternal life, ignominiously buried beneath a parking lot in Leicester. They (the Brits) finally located where his bones were and the bones were unearthed in 2012 . Even though they had to ascertain whose bones were unearthed in that parking lot, this re-commenced a less violent and less heroic struggle for Richard III ‘s bones. After half a millenia in the ground we developed the ability look at DNA and via mtDNA and compared to those of a direct descendant of Richard’s sister. So now we have the remains of King Richard III for certain and as I foreshadowed the forces  of several armies immediately sought to lay claim to the bones. This mayhem precipitated a judicial review. The magistrates have ruled and now a proper party, er, um, ahem,  burial will be had and Richard III will be interred Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the Leicester Cathedral. There the king will lie in repose for three days prior to beginning the next part of his eternal life. King Richard III’s remains will lie in repose for three days, during which time the public can pay their respects. The first service, on March 26, will be followed by similar events on March 27 and 28 leaving plenty of time for people to plan their vacations to be a part of this august ceremony and  be able to purchase all of the bric-a-brac that is incumbent at major genealogical events !

Now we come to the heart of the matter for this jester. I  inveigle all of my Anglo-Genealogists and Royalists of all stripes to properly update their family trees to show the accurate burial date and place of poor Richard III. The king’s remains will now be deposited  inside a lead ossuary placed inside an English-oak coffin — all of which will be placed inside a brick-lined vault in the cathedral floor of  Leicester Cathedral. Let the Wikipedia editors take note too!

So let it be written.

#AccuracyInGenealogy

P.S.  —  As the picture shows, Shakespeare was at least correct in the physical deformity part of his portrayal.


August 7, 2014

#Book #Review — The Serpent Of Venice by Christopher Moore

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The Serpent Of Venice  by Christopher Moore —

contact:  Christopher Moore .

The Serpent Of VeniceStanczyk is  a bibliophile, possibly even a bibliophage. Being a jester for three kings gives me an especial fondness for authors/stories that have a jester/fool as one of the characters. So Stanczyk has a special fondness for William Shakespeare. Imagine how this jester was jolted to find a story mashed-up from Shakespeare with a jester … wait-a-minute  … who has a monkey  … named Jeff? Oh rapture, huzzah! How did I miss the fact that Christopher Moore had these characters in a prior novel  … Fool? Note to self go back and buy Fool !

I had only just finished the first chapter when I realized this story was a mash-up.  It appeared to me to be a mash-up of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (comedy) and Othello (tragedy) and Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado (mystery). I was lured by the clever riff upon the Merchant of Venice title and naïvely assumed this would be a take off of that story. But I got more, much more than even I had bargained for and a monkey named Jeff to boot.

I like to examine a book like some kind of genealogy document. What is its structure? Is there anything unusual or unexpected? How many pages/chapters? So after I read three chapters, I decided to do this kind of examination. I recommend you read the first three chapters too before you do this examination. I saw an afterword. It was by the author and he gives his deconstruction of his novel — most interesting! But it can be a bit of a spoiler. Still I did read the Afterword before I read the last chapter  … I just could not help myself. I already decided to invest myself in the book and was uproariously entertained so far. Having the author give insight, also added to my wanting to complete the book, but I did appreciate some of the inside “skinny” he gives, so I can ensure I get all that Mr. Moore dishes up.

I laughed at his wit. Its right there in the preface (called The Stage and after  the Cast [Dramatis Personae] ). So even before the story begins, the humor has already set in. So I was surprised at his droll wit — not that he had it. Its just that I had Mr. Moore pegged in my mind as a Terry Pratchett. Indeed, I assumed he was some kind of Londoner. So I was surprised when I read his Wikipedia page that he was born in Toledo, Ohio. He writes the dialogue with such obvious British humor and dialect that I had assumed British, not someone born where many of my ancestors had settled, land of the algae bloomed water supply (that has not, so far, caught fire as Lake Erie has been known to do).

The surprise character (at least I think she/it will be a surprise since I was given an inkling in the Afterword which I read beforehand) and its introduction into the storyline called to mind for me, a bit of Beowulf. Especially since this story was already known by me (before the Afterword) to be a mash-up, so perhaps I was now hunting for mash in this uplifting and funny story. So many of the characters are very likeable that I do not know who to cheer for and who to jeer for. What a delightful diversion.

Its a novel in a guise of a play. Hence, the Cast and the Stage. But there is also a Chorus (like some kind of Greek play) and the Chorus is a character too! The book is so clever, this jester decided to Follow @TheAuthorGuy on Twitter.

Stanczyk recommends this book to all who like a good story infused with humor ala Pratchett. Its absurdist proportions appeal to my Slavic soul. The meta joke that an American can write the British dialect with such humor and panache will appeal to Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams fans.  Do not wait for this book to become available as an e-book on your library’s e-book facility, the line is too long. Go directly to your local library (or bookstore) and get the physical copy — much quicker than waiting for the Overdrive download to become available. I guess most people are afraid to enter the physical world and reticent to  leave their Internet bus stop. Excuse me, I will have to go to Marseilles now.


December 30, 2013

Family Legacy …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

BooksThe Junior Classics – 1938

As a genealogist, and many of Stanczyk’s readers are genealogists, we are of course leaving a legacy in our research. As a Polish-American, I also leave cultural legacies related to Thanksgiving or 4th of July or Easter or Christmas.

But I wanted share yet another personal legacy that I am sharing. You see those colorful books at the top of the blog? They are a series of ten books by COLLIER — The Junior Classics. It was a series of hardback books filled with stories & poems across a spectrum of genres from 1938!

My parents bought me this set as a child. I was not a good bibliophile as a child and our books became gradually marred. I kept one book (orange) of poems. The picture is of a set I was able to locate via the Internet and purchase to share with the children from  Teréza & my marriage. I wanted to share my love of reading with our children as my mother & father had done for me. So a legacy of reading, learning, and exploring and also a love for bound books … as anachronistic as that may be today or in the future. Thank God that someone else had preserved such a cultural treasure from the past — these books are 75 years old! I hope my and Tereza’s kids can maintain this legacy and the act of reading stories & funny onomapoeiatic poems to their children too.

That is a legacy that connects our generations.

P.S. – kids,  my favorite volumes were #1 & #3 and because of my father and his readings, also #10 .

December 29, 2013

Auld Lang Syne – 2013 — #HappyNewYear, #Poem, #AnnualBlog

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AllsWell

Stanczyk is republishing his annual blog post:  Auld Lang Syne

Count your blessings my dear readers and take heart in that inventory.

So as we draw to a close this elder year 2013 AD, I take but a moments pause to wish my friends and good readers well and much happiness and wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.—

Verily, this jester says, “All Is Well, That Ends Well“. And 2013 has indeed ended well.

Let me endebt myself further and borrow again from the great bard to close out this year. In Shakespeare’s play, “All’s Well That Ends Well”, in the first Act, the first Scene is a quote that suits me well to use though I steal it from a woman’s lips:

That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, she who is so above me:
In her bright radiance and collateral light.

My bright star is my much beloved wife, Teréza !

I love her so and our growing family and our friends too. Those who love her cannot be faulted for she is such a force of a nature and a wonder to behold. And those who fault her, do not know love. Theirs is a terrible loss indeed. Pity those fools for their jealousy and praise this jester for his steadfastness in the face of such folly. Bless my wife for her devotion made stronger and more holy for her mettle that was tempered by the trifles of miscreants.

I would like to thank my readers for another fine year. Reads of the blog are up another 15%;  This month is a record month of reads and that would not be so, without you. You, my good readers, are a part of that inventory of blessings that I have counted. Interact with me on Facebook, Twitter (@Stanczyk_), and/or LinkedIn too.

Those are my closing thoughts for 2013. Better #Genealogy in the coming year to all genealogists!

Happy New Year 2014 !

–Stanczyk

December 21, 2013

‘Twas A Very Putin Christmas … #Poem, #Politics, #Putin

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

‘Twas the night before Sochi and all thru the Gulag not a prisoner was stirring … Then Putin was visited thrice in succession by Shades of Olympics Past, Present & the Latter.

Then there arose up on the Kremlin with such a clatter:

“Go Green Peace, Khordorkovsky, out Pussy Riot, begone miscreants all … I’ve turned a new leaf!  Now Dash away, dash away all.”

Let there be cheap gas for the Ukraine and all will be well. Let the Patriarch ring our Christmas Bell, I have an Olympics to sell.

I will greet the US delegation with great, gay cheer … “What, Lindsay Graham is not here?”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/20/pussy-riot-khodorkovsky-vladimir-putin-russia

Vladimir Putin

March 3, 2013

The Horror ! The Horror ! … — #History, #Holocaust

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

TheScreamToday’s title comes from a quote from Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski).

In today’s NY Times (article), The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking, by Eric Lichtblau. Read this article, which enumerates the disturbing horror of WWII to ever greater numbers.

If you trace genealogy, particularly Jewish genealogy, but also Polish Christian genealogy too, you will encounter these stories — over and over again. The Horror!

Read the NYT article, but the numbers being reported by the researchers, are that they have  now cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe.

Here’s a partial breakdown:  30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly/infirm, performing forced abortions, etc. The victims were not just Jews being victimized; They were Poles, Russians, gypsies, homosexuals, and the mentally impaired. Dr. Megargee (one of the researchers)  had expected to find perhaps 7,000 “camps”, but the number quickly passed 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now is currently about 42,500 camps. A staggering, mind numbing number.

The numbers are so much higher than we originally thought

– Hartmut Berghoff

History will now show that far more than 6 Million victims were claimed by Nazi atrocities. The Horror! The Horror!

Other Related Stanczyk Blog Posts …

Feliks Elijasz, Roman Catholic Shoemaker
December 30, 2012

Auld Lang Syne – 2012

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AllsWellSo as we draw to a close this elder year 2012 AD, I take but a moments pause to wish my friends and good readers well and much happiness and wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Verily, this jester says, “All Is Well, That Ends Well“. And 2012 has indeed ended well.

Let me endebt myself further and borrow again from the great bard to close out this year. In Shakespeare’s play, “All’s Well That Ends Well”, in the first Act, the first Scene is a quote that suits me well to use though I steal it from a woman’s lips:

That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, she who is so above me:
In her bright radiance and collateral light.

My bright star is my much beloved wife, Teréza !

I love her so. Those who love her cannot be faulted for she is such a force of a nature and a wonder to behold. And those who fault her, do not know love. Theirs is a terrible loss indeed. Pity those fools for their jealousy and praise this jester for his steadfastness in the face of such folly. Bless my wife for her devotion made stronger and more holy for her mettle that was tempered by the trifles of miscreants.

That’s my closing thoughts for 2012. Better Genealogy in the coming year to all genealogists!

Happy New Year 2013 !

–Stanczyk

September 10, 2012

A Troika of Dystopia Tales … — #Books, #Literature, #Bibliophile

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is an unabashed bibliophile. Perhaps I am a bibliophage — bookworm. I certainly devour books — although my wife’s voracious appetite for books puts me to shame. Today’s meme is dystopian thoughts.

A few weeks back (August 15th) I wrote about Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand),  a dystopian sci-fi novel (which I was not enamored of, literately but has clearly has been a sales success). It has a movie coming out soon. I’ll pass on that too.

I am looking forward to Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road“, dystopian travelogue or dystopian Beat Generation screed upon a scroll movie. Despite, its appalling morality tale stories it was an enthralling novel and to think it was written in just three weeks! I bought its 50th anniversary scroll edition in 2007 and read it in almost a single uninterrupted session — somehow I was channeling Jack’s manic writing pace.

What appealed to me about “On The Road“, was its parallel to Hemingway. Here we have some bohemian types dealing with post-World-War-II issues. This was much the same way as Hemingway and his Paris bohêmes dealt with the post-World-War-I issues. So I read it in that context. This movie too will be out this fall — I cannot wait to see it!

But it is 2012 and we now have a new dystopian sci-fi work that needs consideration. This book too, took three weeks to write. But its author despised it, in spite of its success. The work was “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess. Well it is now the 50th anniversary of that novel’s publishing too. As a young man I was enthralled with the Nadsat (English-Russian) argot spoken by the protagonists again while appalled by the violence. I think Hollywood needs to remake this classic too. Hollywood, knock-knock, pick a director with a Slavic sensibility to capture Euro-Ruso trashy-ness of the mood. I did not care much for Stanley Kubrick’s version.

So this my Monday, Troika of Dystopia re-cast into 2012 … Hmmmm is it a coincidence that this is an election year? This election a bit dystopian too, n’est-ce pas?

Send me some Oomny messel in an email OK?

August 23, 2012

Rapes of Wrath – Tea Party War On Science — #Opinion, #Politics, #Science

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is a STEM worker. What is STEM? STEM = Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (S.T.E.M.). OK, STEM is an acronym for an area of focus in business and also in education. We need STEM to have a viable growing economy that produces jobs again.

Do not misunderstand me, we also need business people (especially entrepreneurial types), writers of all stripes, lawyers, teachers, etc. The USA (and indeed every country in the world) is not a country of PRODUCERS and NON-PRODUCERS! It is not. We need every worker and we need everyone to be a specialist in something and to do that something to the best of his/her ability because we are all interconnected. A rising tide, raises all boats, not just the yachts. STEM will raise the tide.

So why do Congressmen like Todd Akin ["Legitimate Rape" and "Forcible Rape" dude] (and PAUL RYAN ["Forcible Rape" co-sponsor dude], Steve King (Iowa) ["No Rape If I Didn't See  It Happen and I have NEVER seen Rape By Incest or Statutory Rape" dude] try to redefine rape? Does anyone not understand the definition of rape? This is NOT an English class exercise — we do not need to rewrite English or Law. They also pretend that Doctors [presumably the medical kind] say there is a “magical” hormone that shuts down rape pregnancy — ignoring 10,000 years of history [Young Earth time frame -- or a few million year history for STEM workers].

Now these same kind of People deny the following science:  Biology (“Legitimate Rape”/”Forcible Rape” and magic hormones), Evolution, Climate Change/Global Warming, Economics [defying paying US Bills by a steadfast refusal to raise the debt ceiling which was routine until 2011 Tea Party Caucus], Environmental Science, Geology (except that related to Oil/Gas drilling),   Cutting NASA, Cutting NIH/CDC, etc.

It does NOT stop at STEM subjects. The Tea Party kooks try to rewrite history (“The founders were against slavery” ??? or the Barton faux-history book that said,  “Thomas Jefferson freed his slaves” — this is egregious to Polish Americans as well as African Americans, because it diminishes Taduesz Kosciuszko’s historical will where he left money to buy the freedom of Jefferson’s slaves — something that Jefferson did NOT honor. They have tried to rewrite Christian Holy Tradition by saying that Jesus was a Capitalist (an Ayn Rand Selfish Capitalist at that) and that he did not try to help the poor [ignoring the overturning of temple tables story, sermon on the mount, or camel/eye of the needle parable, prodigal son, etc.]. Most religious people would be deeply offended by them rewriting the Bible and calling it “The Conservative Bible”. [did they not finish the Bible? Read the last chapter of the last book, Revelations for why this is sacrilegious]  This intense rewriting of facts from science, to history, to religion is now flowing into US law, as they try to write laws based upon these “faulty/fake notions”.

There are other consequences too. Did you see BP Oil try to discredit scientists about the rate of oil flow from the blown up Gulf well? This is a consequence of the “anti science” attitude in congress. Blame the worker, the STEM worker, not the corporation-who-is-a-person-and-yet not-an-ethical-person-or-who-cannot-be-imprisoned-person. Science jobs, outside of government or academia are scarce.

If we do not create STEM jobs the economy will continue to falter. Worse yet, if we do not have science researchers/workers then the next pandemic will have far more than economic consequences — real lives will be lost. We are overdue on a pandemic (nearing 100 years since the last pandemic) and we are ensconced in a Great Recession. Perhaps we need more Paul Krugman (New Keynesian) economists or we need to start actually listening to them and creating laws to create jobs, not new definitions of Rape! Isn’t that what the present Congress was elected to do? Then why did they spend time on 40 Rape bills or how many Voter-Id bills the last two years? Wake up America and throw out the Tea Party Caucus who just want to make up their own set of facts nonsense rather than to actually work using REAL knowledge to solve REAL problems.

STEM workers are you listening (or reading) — I am calling you out? This November VOTE and fire Tea Party caucus people. They are easy to find:

  1. They are REDEFINING RAPE
  2. They are PLEDGED to an unelected NH man (Grover Norquist)
  3. They are pushing to EXCLUDE REGISTERED VOTERS — an American Right (not a privilege)

Anyone who made the pledge to NH  or sponsored laws for “Forcible Rape” or passed laws in 2/3 of the US States to exclude REGISTERED voters need to be voted out. Just Fire Them — Mitt Enjoys Firing People, maybe you should turn the tables on Mitt and Paul Ryan and Todd Akin and Steve King and just fire them.

P.S. My apologies for the temperament of my title’s literary allusion to John Steinbeck’s great novel, The Grapes of Wrath. His title came from the song/lyrics …

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the Grapes of
Wrath are stored;

Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe 1861

August 17, 2012

Ayn Rand vs Objectivism: A Critique — An Election 2012 Primer, #Rational, #Politics, #Opinion

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If you have been following my Ayn Rand / Objectivism series, this the third part and yes I know that these posts are each very long posts. Thank you for your fortitude and open rational mind’s attention. I wrote this article and the other two consecutively so you can just go back one or two blog posts to read the prior articles.

In the first article I criticized Paul Ryan for being a false Atheist, Objectivist and Catholic in his acceptance speech and elsewhere in his political life. I also stated Rand’s stated tenets of Objectivism.

The second article (the one prior to this one) just covered Ayn Rand’s life in a genealogical sense and I included many links which I encourage you to follow those links and examine the genealogical documents to check my validity of my writings on Rand and the context of her life.

In this article I want offer up for your rational and reasoning mind, my critiques of Ayn Rand and/or her espoused philosophy (Objectivism).

Context

By the time Ayn Rand arrived under her real name of Alice Rosenbaum (also Alisa Rosenbaum), on SS De Grasse in the ship’s cabins (not 3rd class or steerage as most emigrants did) on February 19, 1926 she was absolutely “cooked”. From that point on, she was not going to be swayed from her life’s philosophy. The only things she was going to change, would be her name, to “Ayn Rand”.

She was born into a well heeled Jewish family (father owned or was the pharmacist). Rand made it clear that her family was not so “jewish”, definitely not observant jews. I do not know that I believe that (but I’ll save that for later). Rand also said her mother was inattentive to her and her two sisters. Rand also said she taught herself to read in 1911 (about age 6). How about that she actually remembered the year that she declared she was a reader and that nobody else helped her to learn to read? Rand was born the year after her parents were married in 1904 (St. Petersburg, Czarist Russia). So she was the eldest child — no other child to teach her, if her parents did not instruct her in reading. This would be counter to what just about all other Jewish families do, at least so their children can read the Torah (Moses’ Law portion of the Bible’s Old Testament). So again I am skeptical about that self-taught reading business. In high school she reads Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) and discovers Aristotle. She also declares since she is a rationalist, she is also an atheist. Also, there was that Bolshevik Revolution thing in 1917 (right before high school that forces her/her family to move to Ukraine, then Yevpatoria, Crimea). The Communists strip her father of his pharmacy business and they struggle just to eat in the now Communist Russian state (no Czar in control anymore). After graduating from her Crimean high school her family moves back to St. Petersburg (now called Petrograd) and enrolls in Petrograd State University in 1921 where she learns Nietzsche. in 1924 she graduates from Leningrad State University (St. Petersburg is now called Lenningrad) — the same university she had enrolled in, just a new communist name. She almost did not graduate as the communists threw her out, but supposedly foreign instructors fought to have her reinstated so she could finish her studies. We really need someone to go to the Russian Archives and get a copy of her transcripts to remove all of these disputes. Anyway, also in 1924 she enrolls in State Technicum for Screen Arts where she learns screenwriting. She has a love of motion pictures, particularly American/Western motion pictures. In 1925 she gets published her first writing a pamphlet on “Pola Negri” [Polish actress]. Somewhere along the way, after high school and before 1926 she has an affair with a Jewish man, cheats on him with a Communist, breaks it off with the Communist, endangering herself and her family by ending that relationship so badly. This saga is chronicled in her mostly autobiographical We The Living book. Somehow her “destitute”, hardly-able-to-eat family and her scrape together the money for a passport (from Riga) and a ticket for cabin passage on an ocean liner and $50 (USD) and she has a typewriter among her possessions. So Alice Rosenbaum arrives in New York City (Ellis Island) February 19th, 1926 (with the $50 cash required to enter the US). She goes to her uncle Harry Portnoy in Chicago, IL (presumably on the train using some of that $50). So she is now the fully cooked Alice Rosenbaum whose rigidity kept her from changing anything, except her name, which somehow, somewhere, at somepoint becomes Ayn Rand??

Are you with me so far? This age-6-self-taught reader, who knew at age 9 she wanted be a writer, gives up Judaism to be an atheist in high school. She is treated poorly by Communists (her father’s loss of business, kicked out of school, possibly witnessed/knew of pogroms). She hated the Communists, that represented the state taking everything from her/her family. No Collectivism or Self Sacrifice for the State for her. She hated the will sapping, sinking-to-the-lowest-common-denominator that a Totalitarian Economy represented. She entered a relationship with a Jewish man on whom she cheated (with a Communist, no less — conflicted). She studied screenwriting and then left Communist Russia to go to America with an eye to go to Hollywood and be a writer.

Genealogical Critique

First off, I do not believe she demonstrated self reliance. How could she have afforded to come to America especially in a ship’s cabin and with $50? Her last residence was Leningrad (from her father). Also note that she came over and immediately lived with her uncle in Chicago — not very independent or self-reliant. She lived off her uncle’s largess for 6 months before moving onto Hollywood, CA. I am sure she worked to earn some of her keep and to earn money to move to California to pursue her dream of writing for motion pictures.

Second, why would an atheist identify herself as a Hebrew on the ship’s manifest? She could have put Russian. With a name like Rosenbaum, she could have put German too, but Hebrew?? In Communist (read atheist) Russia, she identified herself as a Hebrew. Was that safe to maintain a religion in Communist Russia — especially when she said she was atheist in high school? Even under the Czars, Jews (i.e. Hebrews) were often uprooted and moved to certain remote countryside towns in the “Pale of Settlement“. Seldom were Hebrews allowed to remain in the cities (unless wealthy or in vital professions — which a pharmacist might be considered on both accounts). She has an affair with a Jewish man after becoming an atheist and before emigrating. What Jewish man would want a woman who was not a Jew to have his children? A child is Jewish only if the mother was a Jew (by birth or conversion). Would an atheist do? Probably not. Not so atheist, I guess. In fact, she continues to identify herself as a Hebrew up to and including her Petition for Naturalization filed in December 1930. For the record, the Kensico cemetery where she (and her husband) were buried has a Jewish section, albeit it is not clear whether they are in the Jewish section or not.

Her Naturalization does not show a name change to Ayn Rand. She signs March 13, 1931 as Alice O’Connor. Her signature is distinctive too. The way Ayn Rand handwrote her captial ‘A’ was the same on on Alice O’Connor (her married name) as it was on Ayn Rand (see wikipedia for Ayn Rand signature). She must have have filed a name change somewhere, some place, at some point, because on her Social Security data (more on this later), her name is Ayn Rand!

Thirdly, if we accept the firsthand accounts of others about Ayn Rand. She had a temper! Witnesses say she slapped Nathaniel Branden (including Nathaniel himself — who is still alive and wrote a book on his relationship with Ayn Rand) multiple times. Then she forced Nathaniel and Barbara Branden out of the Objectivist organization that Ayn Rand founded/owned. So we see violence and force on just this one man — against her own Objectivist Principles of Non-Violence and Non-Force. Of course, we could chalk that up to Rand selfishly making herself happy (does that override all other Objectivist principles?). What was the cause of such violence/force? Branden was selfishly making himself happy with his wife and another woman BESIDES Ayn Rand (whom he had a multi-year affair with, then spurned Rand’s advances when he got serious about Patrecia Scott). All these people were Objectivists until Rand “excommunicated” them from her organization. For the record, Nathaniel Branden who was 25 years younger than Rand lied to her about the age difference being a problem and the fact he was in another affair and that he hid from Rand due to her reputed anger.

Finally, notice from the image that Ayn Rand filed for Social Security in CA before 1951. She did not just fill out the forms. She also took monthly Social Security checks (starting about age 69) and also accepted Medicare health insurance when her health started to fail. So even though she said ‘self-reliance’, no ‘welfare state’ — when push came to shove she took the government social programs’ monies. Did you know her health failed because she was a heavy smoker (who developed lung cancer)? So she made all of America pay for her nasty smoking habit — so much for no collectives of any kind. She took Social Security and MEDICARE which she needed because she chose to smoke (probably because it made her selfishly happy). In Rand’s eyes SELFISHNESS is a virtue. In fact she wrote a paper with just that title (actually twice — the second time to repudiate Nathaniel Branden, her excommunicated lover, to her Objectivist subscribers).

From a genealogical perspective, I maintain even Ayn Rand could not be an OBJECTIVIST and that nobody could, because in my opinion it is not possible due to contradictions with reality as we KNOW it. Rand said the “Attila” (aka Man of Force) was not an OBJECTIVIST. Likewise, not the “Witch-Doctor” (later called the mystic) either because he was guided by his emotions and his blind beliefs and/or wishes. It looks like by her life events, she was both Witch-Doctor and Man-of-Force. Oh, she was also a PRODUCER/CREATIVE too. She did sell 25 Million books, at least 7 Million (as of 2010) of which were Atlas Shrugged. By any rational measure Ayn Rand was a successful writer — ergo we can give her the label PRODUCER/CREATIVE.

Philosophical Critique

I am not a professional philosopher, so I will leave philosophical arguments to others. I will say any foundation based on:

Man as Heroic is unfortunately flawed. I wanted to believe it. Certainly, I have seen numerous “heroic” examples from men, women, children, and even animals. But to say man is heroic 100% all of the time is just not believable. There are just too many counter examples to enumerate.

Non-Violence / No-Force – is also a flawed assumption. There has never been a year without violence in the history of mankind. Even if we limit the definition to be just global or civil wars, or genocides then we would see 90+% of all years are violent. Obviously the more violent acts you add in, the closer the limit approaches a violent act happens almost every minute (or is it every second). Force occurs more frequently than violence especially if you view force to be a superset of violence.

Rational, Only Rational – Is there such a person. Even Mr. Spock had his AMOK time where his reason failed him. I have never seen a human be rational at all times, every day. I also have never found a man who was not ruled by emotions. Has there ever been a man/woman who was never happy/sad/fearful/angry/… ? If so then he was probably violent (as in a psychopath).

The Witch-Doctor falls in in the rational area, as he is ruled by emotions or has wishes or blind beliefs. Ergo, he fails to be rational. The Attila man is found here as a failure of rationality too since he/she would use violence/force to get his way. I agree there are Witch-Doctors and Attilas. I would have to say that some Attilas are Producers. How about Julius Caesar for example?

Producers / Creative – OK. Here is one where we find the basis is not flawed. Not all men are Productive/Creative. Even if a man is Productive/Creative he is not that every waking moment. Still I do nto find Rand require Producer/Creatives to be so at all times. Just that they be so. But how much make you a Producer? Is there a threshhold below which man is not to be considered not a Producer?

No Intellectuals before the Industrial Age? Ayn Rand said in a Jan 1st, 1961 interview with James McConnell (University of Michigan) where she said emphatically that there were no intellectuals before the industrial age. That is patently false. This shows Ayn Rand to be ignorant of the classics. There were the seven sages (Thales, Solon, Chilon, etc.) who were intellectuals and capitalists and sometimes soldier and politicians too. I simply offer people to read books on Socrates, Aristotle, Plato or Pythagoras minimally. But I am thinking of the book, Diogenes Laertius, “Lives of Eminent Philosophers” from the Loeb Classical Library Vol I. translated by R.D. Hicks. These men made their living from their intellectual property.

Selfishness is a Virtue, Altruism is bad, No Collectives – I think any sensible person would agree these are wrong. For good examples of collective enterprises I offer: Social Security, Medicare (the two weakest), Airports, Harbors, Road, Trains, Schools, Hospitals, Dams, Museums, Zoological Parks, National Parks, Insurances (Health, Life, Disaster, Business), Military (this can be good/bad) & Defenses, Savings & Loans/Credit Unions (again good/bad), Helping Your Neighbor in a Disaster, Food Coops. Are not any of these good? I think they all are in some fraction. These are my counter arguments to collectives.

By the way I think only being motivated for your own happiness without regard to others is fundamentally in opposition to violence and/or Man-As-Heroic.

Being Self-Reliant is a good thing and I accept this. But I think people needed to band together from the earliest hunter-gatherer clans, to early agriculture/non nomadic and group defense are the proof there have always been collectives and that this is an evolutionary survival technique that created a possibility for man to survive and master the world.

Laissez-Faire Economics – Businesses are people who just want to be happy without regards to others (i.e. humankind). I think the current worldwide “Great Recession” proves that to be a flawed economic model. Also it leads to business that pollute the environment or think that creating asbestos products is ok even if businesses knew it would kill many people. No need for ethics? Come on. These things lead to violence. These things are obviously wrong. Why are there people who cannot see this?

By the way, if you read books on game theory (the mathematics, not real games) you will see that defection is almost intrinsic. Where is the nobility or heroicness in “Everyone For Themselves”? I know violence is there.

These to me say OBJECTIVISM is flawed. Let me also cite here Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem which says any system (even philosophical ones) will have truths that are outside of the system. Also conversely, there will be falsities inside any system. OBJECTIVISM is not the only ISM with this problem all ISMs have this as a problem — including ATHEISM, any religion (i.e. Catholicism), etc. Did Ayn Rand not know about Bertrand Russell or Godel??

How large were the gaps in here knowledge. Good thing she was a successful writer. I’ll skip further analysis here. Go to these links below:

Where Alice Rosenbaum Went Wrong

Guardians of Ayn Rand

Literary Critique

As I said, Ayn Rand sold 25 million+ books so she was an unqualified success! Rand did make it to Hollywood. On her 1st day she meets Cecil B de Mille and works as an extra actor on King of Kings where she meets her husband, Frank O’Connor [she tripped him on set to get him to notice her -- I am sure that made her selfishly happy]. Dream come true.

Her two works for which she is well known are fictional works. FICTION. Atlas Shrugged , Rand’s magnum opus, was a Dystopian Sci Fi novel. It was 1168 pages and included a 60 page monologue. Roundly criticized and yet also popular. But did anyone ever read it completely — every word? I think more people read the complete War & Peace than read Atlas Shrugged. Many synopses exist on the Internet — help yourself. I do not think it was as well written as L. Ron Hubbard (another sci-fi novelist cum philosopher-organization-builder). If you want a Slavic sci-fi writer with more heft how about Stanislaw Lem. Of course, the great Russian-born sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov is even accorded an even better standing as a writer.

If all you want is a good totalitarian critic, go for Slawomir Mrozek or the Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz. Both were authors of such heft and deep thought and yet provided entertaining criticism of totalitarianism. Very literate writers.

However, I am not planning on running for Vice-President with an idea to implement the Foundation Trilogy economic ideas. These books motivated at least one Nobel Prize winning economist (Paul Krugman). So why should we elect people who want to implement Atlas Shrugged ideas? FICTION.

Do not forget that all NON-PRODUCERS are just supposed to die. This seems a lame literary idea for implementing in real life politics/economics.

Paul Ryan & Faux Objectivists

So why does Paul Ryan so prominently promote himself as an Ayn Rand devotee? And why, oh why would we want to elect someone, much less a whole caucus of Tea Party people who espouse Ayn Rand’s OBJECTIVISIM and Economics? They belie themselves by working on social issues which are EXACTLY what Ayn Rand would not have done (She was correct in this concept of not taking rights from a minority by a ruling majority). They did not concern themselves with economics at all. They even stone-walled raising the debt ceiling until it ruined the once perfect credit rate of the USA making everybody pay more for everything — including the debt they were against. Yet this one act guaranteed that debt would grow exponentially.

Let’s see whether they do it again this year and let sequestration throw the US Economy into a depression.

Either way, these are NOT OBJECTIVISTS. They are merely anarchists determined to minimize the US government to a size where they can strangle it in the bathtub. Did you do that Google assignment from article one? Are they really trying to bring about the chaos from Atlas Shrugged? Do most of the Tea Party actually think they are PRODUCERS? Clue to Tea Party caucus, you actually have to work (no sign of that in D.C.) to be a PRODUCER.

Only one Tea Party caucus member turned down the Congressional Health Insurance — he may have actually been an Objectivist. The rest of the TEA Party Caucus complained they had to wait one month for the health insurance to start (NOT Objectivists). Didn’t any of those idiots ever work for a company who provides health insurance? They ALL make you wait 30 days before your health insurance starts — more proof these people were NOT Producers.

A couple flaws from that FICTION. The other 99% will not just die. They may become violent or forceful. Also, who among the 1% of producers are going to pick up the garbage or fix the sewer pipes? Some more useful collective endeavors. I guess they will die from disease these faux PRODUCERS. Who will defend these non-violent, now-disease-weakened producers? Who will heal them or nurse them back to health from their illness? Maybe, just maybe almost everyone is of use and a PRODUCER in some way — even the bloggers. Everyone who works is a PRODUCER. Let’s manufacture/motivate some more PRODUCERS. Isn’t that what real PRODUCERS do?

We still need to work on the US Economy. Let’s use New Keynesian economic ideas and bury the Laissez-Faire economics in a garbage dump. Hey, isn’t that Paul Krugman guy a New Keynesian economist? We may not want to elect Dr. Krugman either, but perhaps we should utilize his economic suggestions of June 2012. After all he is a member of the G30.

Oh, Paul Ryan, just so you know Friedrich Hayek had strong reservations against Laissez-Faire economics. So either make your staff read Ayn Rand or read Friedrich Hayek but not both as they are in direct conflict. Hayek believed:

Hayek was prepared to tolerate “some provision for those threatened by the extremes of indigence or starvation, be it only in the interest of those who require protection against acts of desperation on the part of the needy.”

“[Hayek] advocated mandatory universal health care and unemployment insurance, enforced, if not directly provided, by the state.”

Aren’t you Tea Party types against those policies? Perhaps you should actually read books and not just say you read them.

August 14, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Producer’s Intellectual Criticism of Objectivism — #Meme

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

  The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand

–Paul Ryan @ 2005 “Atlas Society “

Perhaps last weekend you heard that Paul Ryan was named the presumptive GOP Vice-Presidential candidate? But do you know that his espoused reason for being in politics is because he read, one of Ayn Rand’s fictional novels, Atlas Shrugged (a dystopian sci-fi novel)? It kind of makes you sad, that Paul Ryan’s parents did not have more books, because if they had, then perhaps Ryan would have read, Asimov (also Russian born) or Bradbury or Clarke (collectively, the ABC’s of science fiction) and been moved by one of them instead. Perhaps if Ryan had read one those talented writers, he might be in favor (or not) of robots, free speech or intellectual property or renewable resources or evolution (think 2001 Space Odyssey). If only he had read Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, perhaps Ryan would have become a Paul Krugman. Krugman cited Asimov’s series for his inspiration at becoming an economist.

Instead, Ryan thinks the top 1% should isolate itself from the other 99% (who are not “productive”/”creative”) and his budget seems to favor that 1% greatly. That is what Atlas Shrugged is about. The “creative” separate themselves and the non-creative types should just die-off. If you read Atlas Shrugged you will see parallels to today. It is the Tea Party creating chaos to “minimize the federal government until they can strangle it.” Go Google “Strangle the government”, this is not my phraseology , but the mantra of Paul Ryan and the Tea Party thugs. So what we have here is a lower-brow variant of L. Ron Hubbard (another sci-fi writer, whose followers started a “philosophical” organization) devotees.

Ryan upon being named as Mitt Romney’s running mate said, “I’d like to thank nature … (slight pause) and God …”. This is a rather odd statement to be uttered by a person professing belief in Objectivism and also Catholicism. You see my dear readers, the phrase “I’d like to thank nature” is the pointed code-phrase of atheists (not that there is anything wrong with being an atheist). They say their coded phrase meant either to cue their listeners into the fact that they are an atheist or for the more militant atheist to mock people of religious faith who say (and have said for thousands of years), “Thank God for …”. It is a parallel construct to the religious thanks and the atheist version is of a very recent invention (i.e. less than a decade, I have found no reference to the phrase on the Internet to before 2008). It probbaly dates from the arise of the New Atheists (Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett) in 2007.

Now as I have said being an atheist is not necessarily a bad thing. What made Ryan’s quote bad / hypocritical / unethical is that he said “nature and  God”. If you were a devout Catholic (other Christain denominations too, but Ryan espouses to be a Catholic) you would only thank God. You would not thank nature which is just a part of God’s creation. Likewise, if you were an atheist or an Objectivist you would absolutely NOT thank God. So, where does that leave the American voter? What are we to believe? The only logical / reasoned conclusion is that Ryan does NOT believe in any of: Atheism, Objectivism, or Catholicism.

So I call on all Atheists, Objectivists and Catholics to repudiate Ryan for his deceptive practice and of trying to portray himself as any/all of those ‘isms’. Now I know  that you are thinking this is the first time that Atheists, Objectivists, and Catholics can all agree on something — so lets agree Ryan is deceitful and vote for the other political ticket. If you are Pro-Deceit than the Romney-Ryan ticket would seem to be what you have been waiting for.

Because this Presidential election cycle seems to be about Ryan/Tea Party and their espousal of Objectivism, then let’s examine Ayn Rand’s life and see what it says about this absurdist sci-fi drama being foisted upon us by Mitt Romney. This is a blog with an oft genealogy theme, so let’s apply genealogy to Ayn Rand. We will use a timeline and add in  seminal documents and 1st-hand accounts of witnesses to examine her life and her followers’ lives (aka the Collective) for context and we finish with a reasoned critique of Objectivism.

The Ryan Budget is the greatest political fraud. That is how Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s reasoned analysis of Ryan’s proposed raising taxes on the middle class to lower taxes on the upper class without any deficit reduction for at least 20 years sees the Ryan Budget ??? So we the Asimov motivation in opposition to the Rand motivation — you be the judge on the basis of which is your favorite author/producer. But this jester’s premise is that the author Ayn Rand may influence how the USA is governed and you should be conversant on what the two parties are proposing before November.

I hope you are ruled by reason and will read these articles on Rand, Objectivism and Election 2012.

Lets start with some definitional ground work …

Ayn Rand Objectivist Concepts

  • Man as Heroic
  • Reason, only absolute reason
  • The Productive and The Creative in relation to others
  • Motivation for Man is the pursuit of his own happiness (no altruism)
  • Witch Doctor vs Attila vs Producer
  • Espoused – Atheism, Non-Violence/No-Force, Disgusted By Homosexuality (but favored protecting their rights), Anti Collective Efforts of any kind (Individualism)

Some of this sounds good and some sounds odd and all points need some explaining and a bit of context, so lets delve into these concepts in the next few articles.

Next … A Genealogical View of Ayn Rand

July 23, 2012

In Prose … The Good Wife — #Love, #LiteratureLost, #WomanOfValor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk first put pen to parchment and opined during the reigns of Alexander (1492-1506), Sigismund the Old (1467-1548) and Sigismund Augustus (1520-1572), all kings of the Jagiellonian Dynasty). But of all the kings of Poland, I wish I could have been the jester for Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) is the monarch I most lament not serving. King Jan III was one of those larger than life individuals about whom history wraps itself around and conforms tightly to.

I’ll leave his deeds of valor to historians and to generals to study. But today, I wish to pay homage to good King Jan III and by extension to my beloved good wife, Tereza.

By extension to my wife? How so? Well you see my gentle readers, Jan Sobieski (no III – the man, not the king) was lesser known for his good wife and the literate love letters they wrote to each other. Usually, the jester informs the king by his position to speak to truth to power. But this jester wishes he could have learned at this king’s knees as King Jan III posted love letters to his wife, the beloved Queen consort, Marysieńka.

Here’s my letter to my good wife …

All the rivers run into the sea

Yet the sea is not full

Unto the place from whence the rivers come

Thither they shall return again

                                    –Ecclesiastes 1:7

 

I quote Ecclesiastes here my love because I love you in this way. The verse speaks a metaphor of infiniteness and my love for you is truly infinite. The verse speaks of water which as all men know is really about women’s emotions. Yet no matter how much love I have for you I cannot fill up the sea. Only God loves more and only He was able to fill the sea. But at least I will love you again and again ad infinitum.

Undoubtedly my good Jewish wife would rather I quote Proverbs 31:10-31 (also know as the Woman of Valor). She is truly deserving of that epithet. Perhaps she’d want me to quote:

A good wife, who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

                                                –Proverbs 31:10

I would however go deeper into the woman of valor for my quote …

Many women have done excellently,

But you surpass them all.

                                                –Proverbs 31:29

 

I feel that God’s own angels would further lavish upon her …

Give her the fruits of her hands,

And let her works praise her inside the gates

                                                –Proverbs 31:31

Love is infinite my wife. No matter how much I love you, I will have more to give you. No matter how much I love you, I will have more to give our children. So my love is like Ecclesiastes 1:7 and yet so much more.

January 14, 2012

Poland 1794, The Tempest, & Catherine The Great – #Polish, #Genealogy, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk’s blog has a blog roll that includes the talented, Donna Pointkouski’sWhat’s Past is Prologue”. Her blog’s title is from Shakespeares’ play, “The Tempest”. Today’s article is NOT a paean to her fine works, nor to Shakespeare really though this jester has a fondness for the bard – I know I’ve said that before.

Ok, get out your Shakespeare’s 1st Folio and follow along. You will not have to flip too far. The Tempest is the first play in the tome. Just do it. Donna’s quote (“What’s Past is Prologue”) comes from Act II, Scene 1 and is said by Antonio. Today’s article is about Act I, Scene I and how that scene appears in another case of life imitating art. Never fear this is an historical tale from Russian Poland …

Dateline – Easter Week 1794. Poland has already been partitioned twice, the second time was just last year (1793) following the War of the Second Partition. The Empress of Russia is Ekaterina (Catherine) the Great. This Tsarina seems to have had a ‘soft spot” for the Polish diplomat and it was her seduction of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, whom she had caused to be installed as the last elected King of Poland that brought us to this day. It was Poniatowski’s duplicity in trying to move Poland closer to his lover’s Russian Empire that led to the Four Year Sejm only the Empress did not want Poland to re-arm nor Poland’s help in suppressing Turkish aggressions. So the Sejm left to itself,  enacted the world’s  2nd Democratic Constitution on May 3rd, 1791 which led to the War of the Second Partition and finally the 2nd partition in 1793. Violence begets violence and so we find ourselves here Easter Week 1794.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko emboldened by his success in the American Revolution, leads a successful Insurrection in Krakow, where his heroic charge against the Russian General Tormasov results in the capture of the Russian cannons and defeat for the Russian General and his overly small force. This victory results in the ensuing liberation of Warsaw followed by Wilno. Thereby commencing a killing spree led by a tailor whose name (ironically in English) is Jan Kilinski and also by the Guild of Slaughterers (the fascinating occupations of our ancestors). The Russian Ambassador in Warsaw was able to flee eastward across the Vistula bridges[1] just ahead of the Insurrection.

However, the remainder of the Russian sympathizers who were too slow to follow the Russian Ambassador were summarily tried and hung by the Insurrection Council and/or by angry mobs. Amongst those fleeing, was a certain Hetman named Szymon Kossakowski who was caught trying to escape by boat …

Kossakowski  was caught and hanged under the rather literate inscription, “He who swings will not drown.” [1] .

Now compare that quote to Shakespeare’s text in “The Tempest”, published in the 1st Folio in 1623[2]  (performed prior to that publishing in 1610/1611). Near the end of Act I, Scene I  Gonzalo says, “He’ll be hanged yet, though every drop of water swear against it …[3]  .  That scene also contained more dialog about the loathsome boatswain being hanged rather than drowning.

Now we have arrived at the point of Stanczyk’s thesis. That Poland’s rebels were literate and familiar with Shakespeare’s Tempest. They cleverly used this paraphrase in proper context and it was directed at Poniatowski and of course the hangings left no doubt what would happen to other Russian sympathizers when caught. How do I come to suppose such a thing?

Poniatowski, despite his flaws was linguistically talented and mastered many languages, including English due to his mentorship in Russia by the British Ambassador, Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, who was responsible for introducing Poniatowski to the Russian Empress[4].  Poniatowski was so enamored of the bard he erected a statue at Lazienki Palace of Shakespeare[5] ! Poniatowski’s brother, Michal Poniatowski (a Polish Primate) committed suicide rather than meet his fate at the hands of the Insurrection Council. So the Primate knew more certainly than most what Kossakowski’s hanging meant to all Russian sympathizers.

The Insurrection was short lived and was put down by the Catherine the Great and her Russian Generals. This historical story is what led to the third Partition of Poland.

However, it appears 171 years was ample time for the 1st Folio to be transported to Poland, translated to Polish and understood and used in appropriate context during a rebellion. So Stanczyk lays the events of Easter Week 1794 squarely at the foot of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, including the rebels literate scholarship, and the resulting third Partition of Poland which made Poland’s borders (not her people or her culture) disappear for 123 years (1795-1918). Poniatowski had to abdicate in 1795 (at the 3rd Partition) and he died 3 years later … in St Petersburg, Russia.

Catherine The Great : Portrait of a Woman

I’ll have you know that today’s article was inspired by my wife, Tereza. She is reading the above named book  by Robert K. Massie and because she knows my interest in and knowledge of matters about Poland and our shared Slavic genealogies, we have had many wonderfully animated conversations about this book she is reading.  It was nice for her to hear another viewpoint and for me to be further informed by Massie’s scholarly work. We both recommend the book to biography/history readers. My wife reads the book as Catherine, and Stanczyk pretends he is Potemkin !!!

;-)

That is my meme for today.

References

[1] Norman Davies, “God’s Playground”, Volume 1,  2005 Revised Edition, pages 406, 407.

[2] Editor, G. Blakemore Evans, “The Riverside Shakespeare”, page 56.

[3] Edited by Cross & Brooke, “Yale Shakespeare, Complete Works”,  2005 Edition, page 1407.

 [4] Robert K. Massie, “Catherine The Great: Portrait Of A Woman”,  2011  1st Edition, page 175.

[5] Czeslaw Milosz, The History of Polish Literature”, page 169.

December 8, 2011

Recipe For Disaster … #Literary, #Politics, #Humor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Eye of Newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Macbeth, the 2nd Witch

Stanczyk has been a big fan of the Bard for a lonnnnng time! It seems like eons. He was big into jesters and for that I applaud Shakespeare.

His works always seem prescient and applicable to the times at hand. I believe Shakespeare is second to the Bible in terms of being quoted. Has anyone applied the “psuedo-science” of Gematria to Shakespeare? I know about the “Bible Code” and I am pretty sure that mathematicians have used Moby Dick to find predictions in these texts in some kind of Nostradamus-like process of divination. But has any text been more lucid or evident upon the page without any mathematical calculation at all? I daresay not.

Let me hasten to post this article before the GOP flavor of the month disappears like so much Häagen-Dazs black walnut.

November 23, 2011

Stanislaw Lem – Google Doodle

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has written about Stanislaw Lem before (http://mikeeliasz.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/thingsifind-when-looking-up-other-things-stanislaw-lem-1956-przekroj/). So in another bit of cognitive resonance, I find that Google has a Stanislaw Lem Doodle (a rather complex Google Doodle). Now before you scurry off to verify this factoid, be forewarned that here in the USA, we only see a Turkey Doodle. Here is the UK Google Doodle (http://www.google.co.uk/)  for Stanislaw Lem.

A Few Articles on the Lem Google Doodle:

The last two are European newspapers, as it is not readily apparent in the USA that Goggle has done this tribute. You need to visit a Google mirror in Europe to see the Stanislaw Lem Doodle (or click on the first link above). The doodle ends with the message that the art was inspired by the drawings of Daniel Mroz for Lem’s short story collection The Cyberiad, published in 1965. This Google Doodle is interactive, allowing users to participate in a series of games. This doodle marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of his Stanislaw Lem’s first book, The Astronauts in 1951.

Since he is Polish son, go Googling in the UK today.

November 4, 2011

Joseph Conrad = Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

During, October (Polish Heritage Month), when I wrote about Polish literati, I neglected to mention, Joseph Conrad. A huge oversight on my part, that I did not realize until afterwards, when I had read Donna Pointkouski’s comment with a link to her fine article on Polish authors.

I hope you can already guess the reason for my mental blunder, Joseph Conrad, was born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. He was born 3-December-1857 in Berdichev (Polish: Berdyczów, in the Russian Gubernia, of Kiev). Donna’s article said his first language was Polish and his second language was French and that Joseph Conrad did not become fluent in English until his 20’s. I have to wonder that perhaps that there must have been some Russian nestled in between Polish and French given his birthplace and early life. At any rate, it is a marvel that he could be so literate in English and that his literary prose so remarkable, considering it was not his native language. Now he has a rather lengthy bibliography and this jester can only claim to have read, Heart of Darkness (1899).

Check out the wikipedia article from the above link. Look at the picture of Conrad. You can see the noble birth writ upon his face and his intellect is there too in his eyes. This man should have been an author – thank goodness he became one.

For Stanczyk, who came across Conrad later in life and having only read Heart of Darkness, I categorized him in with his contemporaries: Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, & Sir Henry Rider Haggard (who? – author of Solomon’s Mines, creator of the “Lost World” literary genre) and their literary inheritors: Edgar Rice Burroughs (not so much Tarzan as his John Carter character) and Robert E. Howard. There may be many others, but these are the ones I have read. I am sure Ernest Hemmingway read Conrad from Hemmingway’s quotes and there are elements in Hemmingway’s works/life that bring to mind Joseph Conrad. So I guess my brain “Anglicized” this brilliant author who wrote such fluid prose in English and imbued it with his Slavic soul.

That is my mea culpa for omitting Joseph Conrad in October and I am sticking with it.

October 19, 2011

#Polish #National #Heritage Month – Continuing … James Michener “Poland”

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

James Michner's Poland 1st EditionWe always salute the famous historical heroic figures like Pulaski or Kosciusko or possibly scientists like Madame Skladowska Curie and Mikolaj Copernicus or maybe a musician like Fryderyk Chopin. But I do not want this month to go by without a listing of the literary talents and the artistic talents.

Polish Literature is richly nuanced and uniquely Slavic. If you have read this blog for a while, you will have seen a mention of Stanislaw Lem or Czeslaw Milosz and a few others. There are so many to choose from: Mikolaj Rej, Jan Kochanowski, Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Wladyslaw Reymont,  Stanislaw Witkiewicz, Wisława Szymborska or Slawomir Mrozek. For more information, please click on “Polish Literature” or my favorite website for Polish Lit: Staropolska .

Today’s article is on James Michener’s “Poland“. Michener may not be Polish (he never knew who his biological parents were), but he is another of those great local literary talents of my adopted hometown of Philadelphia. This book is a historic novel with some fictional literary devices utilized to stitch together a coherent  narrative around ten historical topics of Poland. These ten episodic chapters can be read straight through or sampled individually.

If you only read one chapter this month,  of this easy reading novel, then read chapter five (on Jan Sobieski and his heroic salvation of Europe at the Battle of Vienna).

They probably sung a hymn / poem from the early 14th century, called Bogurodzica (Mother of God) which is the oldest poem in the Polish Language. You can hear this fascinating hymn here . This poem has no Latin equivalent, so it roots are entirely Slavic.

By the way, you may want to read Czeslaw Milosz’s book, “The History of Polish Literature” for more background on today’s article, including Bogurodzica.

Tomorrow … A Selection of Artists.

– Stanczyk

P. S.

You may want to read Donna Pointkouski’s Top Ten More Ways To Celebrate Polish Heritage Month  for more ideas on this month of ours.

September 21, 2011

Smithsonian Institution Libraries – Books, Images Online

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Brown Tree Duck

Being a jester brings with it a lot of name calling and chief among them is “bird-brain” — which Stanczyk has taken to heart.

A Number of times, I have written about the Smithsonian Libraries & Museums or the Library of Congress. These treasures of America should be enjoyed  and are provided for the diffusion of information. Every American should make a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. and see the statues and museums — taking care not to wander too close to politicians lest you contract a serious case of lunacy.

I have lived in the Village of Audubon, the hometown of the Franco-American Naturalist, John James Audubon. My connection to my genealogy is a fascinating one. Many of the persons from my grandparent’s ancestral villages have Bird Names! Names like: Czapla, Dudek, Kruk, łuszcz, Orzeł{owski}, Ptak, Siewki(Siwiec), Sroka, Skowronek, Sokol(owski),   Szczygieł,  Wrobel, Zięba, żuraw(ski), (and even Włecial=flew) etc. Now one thing had nothing to do with the other; It was just a weird juxtaposition of my life. To couple these two things with my obsession with ducks and yea verily all manner of water fowl — well you get today’s posting. Maybe birds really are in my DNA (in more ways than one).

Actually, today’s posting came from my iGoogle page (Genealogy & Libraries). I have hooked the Smithsonian Libraries blog into the iGoogle page. Today they blogged about their Gallery of Images. Now I thought this was going to be another mention of their flickr pages. But I was wrong. WARNING: do not go to the Gallery of Images if you suffer from ADD. You can easily become lost in the SIL efforts to bring these images and their information online.

The picture at the top is not from Audubon’s Birds of North America, but it is from “The Birds of North America” by Spencer Fullerton Baird, published in 1860 (Philadelphia).

[click on read more to Polish-English Bord List]                                  

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