Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Reveals the Beauty of Italy and the Ugliness of War,
I enjoyed the writing in this novel in spurts. Sometimes the places and situations Lt. Freeman shares has a poetic ring to it while at other times it seems to bog down in repetitious sarcasms about war. The parts with soldier Bowen preaching christian doctrine also seemed to bog down the story.
The book reads more as a world war II memoir than a novel. The descriptions of Italy with it's mountainous landscape and villages are very realistic and picturesque. Overall not a bad read, but I was expecting more of a war story and less of a artillery lieutenant's relationship with his men and their big guns. The opening paragraphs describing the troopship full of young green soldiers shipping out from New York harbor and being greeted by the violent hurling of the Mid-Atlantic sea is captivating.
The story of a U.S. WWII Lieutenant in charge of an artillery unit in Northern Italy. Giving commands to fire the huge artillery guns, devastating the lush Italian countryside while in pursuit of a retreating German army was enough to drive the Lieutenant nearly insane.
Hearing the Lieutenant’s thoughts made for a very philosophical and dreamscape read. With descriptions that go from heavenly to hellish in a second, you’re narrated through Italian countryside, war-torn villages, war-shocked villagers, lusting and fearful young soldiers, arrogant generals, vengeful partisans (rebels) and desperate women.
He looks at his function as that of a worker in a factory or corporation, skillfully setting up one big machine brought along to do a job. He doesn’t really believe in the job but he’s loyal to the machine. It represents the superior manly power of the United States.
I think Mr. Goodman wrote this book as a warning to humanity. The message written between the lines is very clear; war not only destroys an enemy but also takes its devastating toll on the land, it’s people and the conquering army. There is no innocence left or pardons given after a war. All are guilty of crimes against humanity and ecology.
By the end of the book you begin to think that maybe soldier Bowman was onto something when preaching about the evils of the apocalyptic war. He too went insane.
When it’s raining body parts, there’s no umbrella one can use to shield his mind from being disturbed.
Great descriptive writing, however, the Lieutenant too often lets his thoughts veer off into intangible war essays. The reader must follow the Lieutenant as best he/she can or else risk getting lost and uninterested. I almost didn’t finish this book. The voice behind the writing brought me back to it more than twice. Glad I finished it though. Nothing all revealing at the end, but I wouldn’t wanna miss knowing the Lieutenant found peace in an Italian village laundry detail.
I still wonder what importance the village laundry detail holds in the story. Maybe it was put there to show that some sanity did return to the lieutenant.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Manigault, nicknamed the Goat because a teacher once mispronunced his last name as Mani-Goat, was famous for his mid-air acrobatics. Thousands of people swear they saw him perform a move known as the Double Dunk, in which he would slam the ball through a net, catch it as it dropped through the cords and, still airborne, dunk it again.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Nate Robinson rushes to greet Monta Ellis after Ellis' game-winner.
Photo: Paul Connors / Associated PressThe Golden State Warriors had lost 28 of the last 31 match-ups against the Suns in Phoenix. So when I saw they were playing Steve Nash and company yesterday in Phoenix, I simply scheduled other activities of entertainment.
Monday, February 13, 2012
In Tune with the Infinite
Ralph Waldo Trine
Pgs. 109-114 partially
He who would enter into the realm of wisdom must first divest himself of all intellectual pride. He must become as a little child. Prejudices, preconceived opinions and beliefs always stand in the way of true wisdom. Conceited opinions are always suicidal in their influences. They bar the door to the entrance of truth.
All about us we see men in the religious word, in the world of science, in the political, in the social world, who through intellectual pride are so wrapped in their own conceits and prejudices that larger and later revelations of truth can find no entrance to them; and instead of growing and expanding, they are becoming dwarfed and stunted and still more incapable of receiving truth.
There is a great law in connection with the coming of truth. It is this: Whenever a man or a woman shuts himself or herself to the entrance of truth on account of intellectual pride, preconceived opinions, prejudices, or for whatever reason, there is a great law which says that truth in its fullness will come to that one from no source. And on the other hand, when a man or a woman opens himself or herself fully to the entrance of truth from whatever source it may come, there is an equally great law which says that truth will flow in to him or to her from all sources, from all quarters. Such becomes the free man, the free woman, for it is the truth that makes us free. The other remains in bondage, for truth has had no invitation and will not enter where it is not fully and freely welcomed.
And where truth is denied entrance the rich blessings it carries with it cannot take up their abode.
And the man who would rob another of his free and unfettered search for truth, who would stand as the interpreter of truth for another, with the intent of remaining in this position, rather than endeavoring to lead him to the place where he can be his own interpreter, is more to be shunned than a thief and a robber. The injury he works is far greater, for he is doing direct and positive injury to the very life of the one he thus holds.
Who has ever appointed any man, whoever he may be, as the keeper, the custodian, the dispenser of God's illimitable truth? Many indeed are moved and so are called to be teachers of truth; but the true teacher will never stand as the interpreter of truth for another. The true teacher is the one whose endeavor is to bring the one he teaches to a true knowledge of himself and hence of his own interior powers, that he may become his own interpreter. All others are, generally speaking, those animated by purely personal motives, self-aggrandizement, or personal gain. Moreover, he who would claim to have all truth and the only truth is a bigot, a foot, or a knave.
In the Eastern literature is a fable of a frog. The frog lived in a well, and out of his little well he had never been. One day a frog whose home was in the sea came to his well. Interested in all things, he went in. "Who are you? Where do you live?" said the frog in the well. "I am so and so, and my home is the sea." "The sea? What is that? Where is that?" "It is a very large body of water and not far away." "How big is your sea?" "Oh, very big." "As big as this?" pointing to a little stone lying near. "OH, much bigger." "As big as this? pointing to the board upon which they were sitting." "Oh, much bigger." "How much bigger, then?" "Why, the sea in which I live is bigger than your entire well; it would make millions of wells such as yours." "Nonsense, nonsense; you are a deceiver and a falsifier. Get out of my well. Get out of my well. I want nothing to do with any such frogs as you."
“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,’ is the promise. Ye shall close yourselves to truth, ye shall live in your own conceits, and your own conceits shall make fools and idiots of you, would be a statement applicable to not a few, and to not a few who pride themselves upon their superior intellectual attainments. Idiocy is arrested mental growth. Closing one’s self for whatever reason to truth and hence to growth, brings a certain type of idiocy, though it may not be called by this name. And on the other hand, another type is that arrested growth caused by taking all things for granted, without proving them for one’s self, merely because they come from a particular person, a particular book, a particular institution. This is caused by one’s always looking without instead of being true to the light within, and carefully tending it that it may give an ever clearer light.
(reading these pages seemed to confirm my belief about those religions that shun others. Are they short-sighting their followers to the all-encompassing and all revealing God almighty? There are many paths to the truth, but only one truth.)
"Let there be many windows in your soul,
That all the glory of the universe
May beautify it. Not the narrow pane
Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays
That shine from countless sources. Tear away
The blinds of superstition: let the light
Pour through fair windows, broad as truth itself
And high as heaven. ... Tune your ear
To all the worldless music of the stars
And to the voice of nature, and your heart
Shall turn to truth and goodness as the plant
Turns to the sun. A thousand unseen hands
Reach down to help you to their peace-crowned heights
And all the forces of the firmament
Shall fortify your strength. Be not afraid
To thrust aside half-truths and grasp the whole"
Photographer Alain Briot's luminous landscapes collection
more about Alains's Photography
Sunday, February 12, 2012
With former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming retired, Lin carries the weight of a people on his shoulders and from the looks of it he's more than capable of handling the load. Last I checked China was still leading the world in population at 1.3 billion citizens. The United States has 312 million. Do the math.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Al Saunders, last seasons' offensive coordinator, will return to the Oakland Raiders as an Offensive Assistant; Whew!
Friday, February 10, 2012
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Eli Manning is an elite quarterback and a deserving choice for Super Bowl XLVI MVP. He kept his offensive unit poised and confident on the biggest stage of professional football. He led by example and delivered with the game on the line with his team needing him to make a play. I'm sure he's made father Archie Manning very proud.
On September 13, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000—the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's 87-year history, and fined the Patriots $250,000.
Coach Belichick has not won a Super Bowl in two attempts since Spygate. Though many might say their signal stealing ways have come back to haunt them, the New York Giants and SB XLVI MVP Eli Manning know why the Patriots haven't won the Lombardi Trophy of late.
New England Patriots 17
New York Giants 21
note: Today's game was almost as good as their first Super Bowl matchup in 2008.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Friday, February 03, 2012
This week has seen a number of celebrities and public figures pass away. Usually I try posting a tribute for those who've touched my life in some small way.