Friday, November 27, 2015

R. Krebs monostich: Bats at night

~   their flitting forms    defied the eye   ~

[Quarried from this source: 
Jan Valtin, Bend in the River (1942), p. 239 ]

They Stand Revealed

All the leaves now     
fallen, fallen,
the squirrel-huts stand plain which had been hidden,
high atop the towering tulip trees.

They look woefully inadequate shielding from winter winds,
being themselves now all unshielded.


The past few days have been balmy;
and yet the hint of winter
in the skies with their wincing shrinking light
has drawn the raccoon  once again  out of the woods.

We seldom see him;  but the trash-can, toppled on its side with the lid pried,
the chicken bones denuded of their remnant juicy delicacies,
tell the tale.
Welcome back, you furry forager;
time to switch to the more cumbrous container with a lockable top.


All at a sudden-once  / seen
stark, behind spare bare branches,
a wisp of cirrus
slow       ly       slips      .   .    .
revealing  in its extended irregular outlines
indecipherable intricacies  of wind and temperature  in the high sky,

like a Gram-stain unveiling   invisible infusoria.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Autumn Poem

honeygold lemonyellow
splashes of    here (t)here    everywherewhichwayfalling
leaf ..  f       f  ..     s s s …..

from the tall tops   of tulip trees



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Careers for women in the Islamic State

The New York Times this morning provides an intimate glimpse into the exciting life of the “Daesh dames”:

Dua had only been working for two months with the Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State, when her friends were brought to the station to be whipped.
The police had hauled in two women she had known since childhood, a mother and her teenage daughter, both distraught. Their abayas, flowing black robes, had been deemed too form-fitting.
 “Their abayas really were very tight. I told her it was their own fault; they had come out wearing the wrong thing,” she said. “They were unhappy with that.”
Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.
[...] Within the brigade, women had started using their authority to settle petty quarrels or exact revenge.

Former member of the Khansaa brigade,
dressed for success
Weiteres zum Thema:

For analysis and further particulars:


Another interesting tidbit, from the same very informative article:

To the outside world, the territory controlled by the Islamic State might seem to be a hermetically sealed land governed by the harshest laws of the seventh century. But until relatively recently, the routes into and out of Raqqa were mostly open. Traders would come and go, supplying the Organization’s needs and wants — including cigarettes, which some fighters smoked despite the fact that they were banned for Raqqa residents.

More on the political theatrics of smoking, here:


The Washington Post as well  offers a well-informed inside glimpse into those who make ISIL’s société du spectacle  possible:

What they described resembles a medieval reality show …

More on the matter here:


Der Spiegel likewise got an inside view, thanks to captured ISIL documents provided by Iraq:

The main takeaway is a refutation of those who would dismiss ISIL as basically just a large street-gang, disorganized and devoid of strategy.
Our own view of the organization was presented here:

[More than  once  al-Qaeda,
ISIL is proving  a Rorschach  for the West.]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wuthering Weather

On the eve of the global climate summit (Cop21), scheduled to open at the end of this month  in Paris (which itself now crouches beneath the stormclouds of war), The New Yorker has published an engaging review-essay on the significance of weather in art and literature:

From this  we’ll single out  one fine line:

Dystopia is already here.  It’s just unevenly distributed.

Several of our own essays  touch on the subject:

            Let’s talk about the weather

            The Psychology of Meteorology

            Climatological prestidigitation

            On the movie “Take Shelter”

Contra Krugman

Over the years, Paul Krugman has contributed many valuable op-eds regarding politics and economic; but his post- Paris attacks column  is less percipient.

Take, for example, Jeb Bush’s declaration that “this is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.” No, it isn’t. It’s an organized attempt to sow panic.

Actually, at a strategic level, ISIL does indeed envisage “an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization,”  even if Jeb Bush says so too.   What demonstrates this  is not the Paris attacks per se (whether the Death Metal at the Bataclan represents that civilization, or rather its decline, must be left to the reader to judge), but rather the programmatic statements of ISIL itself, revealed in complete candor in several issues of their English-language magazine Dabiq, available online.  Note in particular the cover of issue #4, in which the cross atop the obelisk has been replaced by the ISIL flag (placed into context here:
and, even more remarkably, the cover of issue #2, which you can view here :

To understand why, already with the second issue, ISIL should highlight Noah’s ark, requires a level of strategic understanding not evinced in Professor Krugman’s column.   Ask yourself as well why Daesh would be so particular about destroying pre-Islamic antiquities -- of no military value, and not especially well calculated to “inspire fear” in the West;  or why, out of all the targets in Tunisia, they chose the Musée du Bardo (Roman antiquities).


Bonus -- 
For an in-depth Auseinandersetzung with Krugman’s essay “Interests, Ideology And Climate”,  try this:

            The Psychology of Meteorology

And, on Paul Krugman and Thomas Frank:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

C’est parti -- ça commence

A discarded cellphone  which the police found near the Bataclan, contained this text-message:

on est parti  on commence’’

Loosely translated:  Let’s roll.”

That might prove, for November/Friday-the-13th,  what “The match begins tomorrow” became (in the public mind) for 9/11.
Not because of that day’s body-count;  but because the event may later be seen as the “tipping-point” -- das Umkippen -- when even slow learners like Hollande  finally got the message.  Epigram/epitaph  going forward:

C’est parti -- ça  commence.

Loosely:  Now we’re in for it.”


If so, this may, in some sense, be bigger than 9/11.
For:  the freakishly high death-toll of 9/11  was in part due to an unexpected result of architectural engineering.  Watching the twin towers just … collapse … vertically … engendered disbelief.  (The bastard offspring  of such disbelief  was a conspiracy theory.)  Moreover, there has been almost no follow-up on American soil.  And this, because it really was an extraneous attack of a few intruders; there was no indigenous Muslim fan-club for those guys, in America, at that point.

Quite different is the scene in France, where a follow-on op to Nov/Vendredi-13, was not long in coming. Here, a magnificent public presentation by the Procureur de Paris, François Molins -- Churchillian in its focus and concision:

Le commando neutralisé à Saint-Denis était prêt à «passer à l'acte»

And here, an unusually detailed blow-by-blow account of the Saint-Denis raid, from its leader, Jean-Michel Fauvergue:

Kudos to you, gentlemen.

Eyewitness from the Bataclan: