Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections in an Empty House

The house is temporarily free of revelers whose annual holiday intrusions are insistently spent in an inebriated state of mind. Needless to say not much writing has been completed over the last two weeks. Officially the year end festivities will cease this evening, but I'm longing to resume writing and find the tranquility of a currently quiet home inspiring. The solitude is shared only by Clio, the proclaiming Muse, whose scroll dictates the order of my post.

Before continuing with the promised reflection on The 1913 Armory Show, I wanted to share an observation my daughter made over dinner during the holidays. We were dining at our favorite Tampa, Fl, locale: Ceviche. The smells of fresh baked bread, and roasted pork, wharfed the air in an atmosphere like that of a rustic church. Plates of many Spanish tapas were spread across our table: oxtail braised in red wine; roasted peppers stuffed with veil and sausage, topped with a light sherry sauce; and, of course, a plentiful serving of Ceviche De La Casa. My attentions were devoted to sampling the dishes, and sipping glasses of white Sangria, constantly freshened by the ceramic pitcher attended to by a ever observant waiter, when my daughter spoke.

She began a torrent of blaming the nation's current financial woes on college graduate programs offered during the late '70's and early '80's. She insisted the curriculum of the day were too respondent to theoretical teachings and to a concerted ideal that was formulated among many of the leading business schools.

Graduates had come away with a conveniently assessed persuasion that all businesses are entities incapable of conceiving morality. Therefore, a profit organization is only responsible to profitability without consideration of consequence. The new order of these "captains of industry" were then obligated to abide to this creed. My daughter was convinced this illogical thinking had seeped into the psyche of America, and was transparent in the concepts of most corporate ceo's and most political leaders.

When she noticed that I was more responsive to the diner and drink, she stared at me intently before shouting-

"Dad! Their reasoning is psychopathic. Our modern society is being manipulated by teachings that have given rise to sociopath leaders."

The statement caused both me and the waiter- who stood holding the pitcher of wine beside where I sat- a moment to pause and reflect. I then noticed my daughter reaching for her purse. When she pulled out a folded sheet of paper, which she began to unfurl with avid authority, I suspected my dining was to be placed on hold for a while, and decided it was probably a good idea to have the waiter prepare another pitcher of Sangria. I was about to approach him, but his glance indicated my order went without saying, and returned several minutes later to prepare the wine.

She began to read descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths, pausing ever so often to raise her eyebrows, and widen her eyes, as an indication to note the defense of her surmise. When she read that sociopaths never recognize the rights of others, and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible, she again turn her assured expression on me.

"Sound like any of your old Wall Street cronies, dad?"

Actually I could have named a few, but merely suggested she continue.

She then read how sociopaths were pathological liars, with an ability to create complexities about their own powers and abilities.

"Sounds like the spinnings of political pundits, or the false allures of commercial advertising to me, doesn't it?" She offered with another stare.

They lack remorse, and see others around them as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. They have no concern with wrecking others' lives and dreams, and are oblivious to the devastation they cause. They will not accept blame on themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

When she was through she folded the piece of paper and returned it to her purse.

"Today, these attributions are admired by many in competitive vocations, and are consider traits of leadership. It is the root cause of why many industries are failing."

She then clutched her glass of wine.

"Social Darwinism has failed our Republic." She concluded before taking a sip.

I took this as a sign to return to engaging my fork and knife, which I delightfully procured.

"You are not at all alarmed by my observation." She asked.

"No," I responded, "it will change."

She peered across the table, distraughtly, as I continued cutting my food into eatable portions.

"It will turn," I offered, "it always does. This sort of appeal to avarice behavior was evident at the turn of the century; it ended with the great depression. We managed to turn things around, then, and created a sustainable economy that lasted nearly sixty years. America will gain its moral compass. It will come again."

"How?" She asked.

I paused, with fork and knife still firmly gripped in the clutch of each hand.

"Well, your young and ambitious, and you've observed this national character flaw. Do you honestly think you're alone with your observation? It may correct with the guidance of your generation, perhaps. Still, it will change. In the long run people become bored with immorality and self-serving acts."

She smiled.

"Finish you dinner, dad!

I need to begin preparing for the last evening of a ever disappointing decade, and anxiously anticipate the last dance of 2010. My resolution for the new year is to work with the people, to treat the insanity that is slowly eroding the wealth of the middle class, and discouraging the dreams and efforts of some many aspiring working class heroes.

Let's mark the new year as the moment in time to begin this goal!

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Writer's Christmas Wish-list

I thought I'd better start composing my Santa wish-list of things I want this year. If Santa complies, here are some of the headlines that will be revealed in the new decade!

IRS regulations allow 401(K)contributions to be made in art and literature.
The S&P 500 plummets as investors liquidate and transfer funds, from Wall Street investments, into the more profitable commodities of art and literature. The paradigm shift- initially spurred by transaction fees dropping to less than 5%- takes hold when consistent long term annual yields of 12% are recognized in contemporary art purchases.
Investors, eager to find alternatives to the financial markets, have also begun investing in the long term appreciation of books. A new breed of literary annalists has replaced the conventional wisdom of stock advisers, and the investment choice is creating a American cultural renaissance.
Publishing houses have begun packaging books with usb data sticks that contain the text in e-reader formats,allowing investors to preserve the hardback copies in home libraries. Home libraries and art galleries have become as trendy as home wine cellars: each storing content that will potentially appreciate in value with age.

Corp bookstore chain coops with nation's public libraries
An amalgamated facility of resource and enlightenment has become a popular weekly evening destination for middle class families. As television viewing continues to abate, places like The Book Store and More chain has risen in popularity.The existence of this conglomerate of both public and private funding is shaping as a prototype of future endeavors.Each night visitors find an array of fascinating family activity, from production extravaganzas surrounding book readings for preschoolers, to media enhanced lectures on literary eras and personalities.
Strolling the aisles one finds senior citizens participating in reading groups and high schools students working collectively on school projects. Research advisers stand in information booths directing visitors to the activities surrounding any given subject on any given night. An appreciation of the sensations afforded by reading has brought the people together in community spirit. Books can either be purchased or borrowed from the library. The chain has experienced a 50% annualized growth rate and is expected to begin opening stores internationally next year.

Macy's literary and art section a hit with retailers.
Clothing brands and accessories associated with the current resurgence of art appreciation are adding to Macy's bottom line. Shoppers can find an array of eclectic buys, from purses styled in patterns inspired by artists such as Pollack and Monet, to white summer suits created by the author Tom Wolfe. For the more discretionary purchaser- nostalgic for the days of un generation perdue in late 20's Paris- evening wear and accessories can be found from the Zelda Fitzgerald Collection.
Some of the more popular novelty items are polo shirts embroidered with the corp. logo of Rearden Steel- inspired by Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; porcelain school mugs adorned with the crest for Pencey Preparatory Academy- the school Holden Caulfield was dismissed from in J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye; and blue blazers sporting the Gemini pocket insignia of the Taggart Benson Museum; from John Milner's Benson's House.
A mannequin stands in the entrance of the department wearing a white t- shirt that is embroidered with the word Transcendentalism in black cursive lettering. The jeans worn are from the Bonanza Jellybean Collection and the mantilla covering the head and shoulders is adorned with a print of Picasso's Guernica.

Harper Lee's birthday becomes a national holiday
April 28th becomes the official Day of Reading for America. It began with the grass root efforts of Grace Merriweather- a retired librarian from Monroeville, Alabama- when she launched a movement that encouraged viewers to mute television sound and read during programing not written by The Writers Guild of America members. Americans soon took to the idea and found reading as having more entertainment appeal than shows like Dancing with the Stars. Grace's new found celebrity allowed her to continue her quest leading to the official day. It is suggested all patriots spend the initial holiday reading To Kill A Mockingbird .

John Milner's novel, Benson's House, is attributed to the inspiration for the summit for world peace.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmound Ahmadinejad, announced plans to host a summit of world peace after reading John Milner's first novel: Benson's House. The President confessed to being inspired by Milner's theme of the common sense. He claimed to have experienced an epiphany after reading a passage provided by the character, Nathanial Benson. In it the character suggests a common voice is instilled within every human being. Benson expounds upon the instinctive sense of right and wrong, which he calls common compassion. This compassion is not enforced as canons of religion, or standards of fraternal orders. It is a homogeny of the Laws of Nature that all people are born with. It is the fabric that keeps us civil. It constitutes the desire for dignity and the drive to be recognized as the provider of the security- endowed by our mutual Creator- to allow all men, created equally, the right to their pursuit of Happiness. Ahmadinejad would like Milner to be a keynote speaker at the global summit for world peace.

Imagination dictates the formulations of wish-lists. Convictions cause those desires to become real.It is a formula that rewards sincerity, with, of course, Santa's help!

May your days be merry and bright...

Someone was punching me, but I was reluctant to take my eyes from the people below us, and from the image of Atticus's lonely walk down the aisle.
"Miss Jean Louise?"
I looked around. they were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the oppisite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes's voice was as distant as Judge Taylor's:
"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'."

Harper Lee