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June 2018
Vol. VIII, No. 306

June 2018

“Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu!”

Weekly Hubris June 2018 Home Page.

Frederic Leighton, “Greek Girls Playing at Ball,” and “Eucharis, A Girl with a Basket of Fruit.”

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: This June, we reprise an essay (on her sweet father, and the sweetness of plums) by Diana Farr Louis. (We also publish Jean Nolan’s tribute to her own late father, an irrepressible and vivid Chicagoan of the Victorian Era.) The last installment of Ross Konikoff’s urban epithalamium to his wife, Deborah, follows. Claire Bateman then introduces us to poet Patricia Waters, with three of that poet’s lyric poems. Dr. Guy McPherson’s essay deals with the peculiarly human scourge of ownership. Helen Noakes writes us a letter to copy and paste to our congresspeople. Anita Sullivan’s two short essays address the imponderables of rescue and time. Dr. Skip Eisiminger, as grandfather, hunts and pecks round about various small keyboards. William A. Balk., Jr. remembers Valerie Solanis and SCUM (The Society for Cutting Up Men). Elizabeth Boleman-Herring files a dispatch from The Far Land of Affliction. Tim Bayer admonishes us to man, woman, and child the barricades against fake news. And, in closing, we include an archival essay, a family tale deriving from his South Carolina Midlands boyhood, by Ted Balk.

Every other year, our plum trees go berserk.

Every other year, our plum trees go berserk.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Jam Session & A Tribute to My Father,” By Diana Farr Louis

ANDROS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—This year,* our plum trees have been working overtime. There are only two of them, thank God, but each has contributed hundreds of perfect wine-red fruit, brushed with undertones of pale yellow. These koromila, as they’re called in Greek, are the size of slightly flattened ping-pong balls. And they taste equally delicious by the handful or turned into jams, pies, chutneys, clafoutis, sorbets, or something exotic I haven’t come up with yet. Plum tapenade, anyone? (Read more . . .)

Pop and I.

Pop and John Carroll.

More Light

“A Late Quatrain for Mr. Carroll,” By Jean Carroll Nolan

SEASIDE California—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—My father, Jim Carroll, died on June 9, 1965. I was 15 years old at the time, and he was 60. The cause of death as listed on the death certificate was carcinoma of the left lung, unsurprising in a man who had smoked Bull Durham most of his life, and whose idea of a balanced diet for himself consisted of an assortment of alcoholic beverages. He rotated between bourbon (Jim Beam), gin (Gilbey’s), and brandy (Christian Brothers), the brandy being the last resort  when he was really ill, and could not stomach stronger brews. On holidays, or when he picked the right horse, or when he won a bet on baseball (praise the Yankees of the 50s), Johnny Walker Red was the order of the day, accompanied always by a Whitman’s Sampler and a box of Yardley Lavender soap for my mother. (Read more . . .)

Deborah and Ross, in Monaco, before selfies.

Deborah and Ross, in Monaco, before selfies.

West Side Stories

“Love on East 13th Street: IV, Ever After,” By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—I burned most of the day kicking around, eyeing my watch. I passed a few lookers on the way home who, under normal circumstances, might have earned a second or third leer, but I was too tormented to make the effort. When I finally got back, I got comfortable and trickled a dozen ounces of brandy down my throat. Brandy always induces a cool, detached sense of logic and perspective and, Brother, I needed plenty of both. I was about to step off a towering ledge, but I suspected the long glide down might just be worth the hard landing.When it finally agreed to be 7:00, I dialed her number. She picked up on the second ring. I was getting more popular. We kept it short, making a covenant to  pair up at 9:30 the following evening at a small trattoria in the East Village. (Read more . . .)

Patricia Waters.

Poet Patricia Waters.

Speculative Friction

“Three Poems by Patricia Waters,” By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—Patricia Waters was born and reared in Nashville, Tennessee, took her undergraduate degree at what was then Memphis State, and her MA and PhD at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is on the English Department faculty of Troy University, where she oversees the English Language Arts program for secondary certification. She lives in Athens, Tennessee. She has two books of poetry published by Anhinga Press, The Ordinary Sublime and Fallen Attitudes. (Read more . . .)

L’Inferno, The Fourth Circle of Hell, by Gustave Doré.

L’Inferno, The Fourth Circle of Hell, by Gustave Doré.

Going Dark

“On Ownership,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—Occasionally, I see this question, usually in a social-media forum: If you were to eliminate one thing, what would it be? For me, there is no question: ownership. The living planet faces many predicaments. To me, most seem to be rooted in ownership. As nearly as I can distinguish, ownership did not exist until civilization arose. Millions of years spent sharing and nurturing led to a relatively benign human existence. A few thousand years into civilization, and everybody wants more. Ownership is a fundamental concept underlying the pathology of capitalism. (Read more . . .)

Children sleep in a Texas holding cell. (Photo: Eric Gay/Associated Press)

Children sleep in a Texas holding cell.

Waking Point

“To Whom It Certainly Concerns,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—What I ask of you this month could not be more straightforward. Please simply copy and paste the letter below into an email, letter, or fax, and send it out to all your senators and elected representatives in Washington DC (all names, titles, and addresses here). Address the letter appropriately, and include your name, address, and other contact information . . . but write. Please write. (Read more . . .)

A vaguely articulate piece of dust.

A vaguely articulate piece of dust.

On The Other Hand

“A Giant Swore at My Demise & Tai Chi Time,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—Tonight I tried to rescue a tiny insect clinging to the side of the tub, before I turned on the shower, but it was likely too frail to withstand my usually quick and gentle trick of tucking it inside a tissue and whisking it away, so I’m pretty sure it died. I was not meticulous enough. I could have spent more time at it. I laid the tissue on the sink, leaving the actual outcome to fate. Because I could not weep, I swore quietly. (Read more . . .)

The child is father of the man.

The child is father of the man.

Skip the B.S.

“What Hath God Wrought? Email & Texting,” By Dr. Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—My friend Harold Woodell says he often sends a text to his daughters reminding them to read their email. Likewise, when my father bought his first computer in 1990, I sometimes telephoned to remind him to read his email. And my mother would write letters when I was stationed in Germany to remind me to call home. Isolate a prisoner for any length of time, and he’ll soon start tapping coded messages on the plumbing demanding an answer. Humans are a social species; indeed, our appetite to communicate is insatiable but, as most of the examples above suggest, if we have a choice, we prefer to communicate with those closer to our age, and in a medium we grew up with. (Read more . . .)

Valerie.

Valerie.

Epicurus’ Porch

“SCUM of The Earth,” By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—If I’d known she’d tried to kill him, I might have sat at the counter instead of at one of her tables. But I hadn’t known, and I did sit at her table, andas it seems to happen sometimes in my long and convoluted lifemy server and I would become friends of a sort over the next several months. The restaurant occupied the street level of an old building on Connecticut Avenue, just two or three blocks above Dupont Circle. It was a vegetarian restaurant with a clientele drawn mostly from the Washington post-hippy, counter-culture, political activist neighborhood. We all were in the same barely-scraping-by straits in those pre-vegan days, and when customers would find themselves a bit short of funds, the restaurant would provide a meal in return for waiting tables, preparing food, or bussing. (Read more . . .)

“The Boat of Charon,” by Jose Benlliure y Gil, 1919.”

“The Boat of Charon,” by Jose Benlliure y Gil.

By Way of Being

“The Far Land of Affliction,By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PENDLETON South Carolina(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—Affliction is a well-visited destination, but one on no one’s published itinerary. Our visas are universally stamped (in invisible ink) at birth (and, often, before birth) in our mutable flesh. But, until we arrive at the border and gaze over the wall, we have no true notion of what to expect. Some of us are swept across the frontier before we have even a chance to raise a hand in farewell. If we’re very lucky, we’re given some advance warning and can get an oar in the water. What to pack, what not? Is there a handy phrase book? What do the natives eat, and not? Are there excursions, perhaps to the volcano? May I take my support animal? Are round-trip tickets available, ever? Is there a pool? (Read more . . .)

Engage your brain. This is a dangerous time.

Engage your brain. This is a dangerous time.

Won Over By Reality

“Stay Woke: Accept Nothing on Face Value,By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—These days, identifying deception and outright lies requires . . . engaging your brain. It may also require a little research using credible sources to verify what’s on offer as factual. However, climate change deniers, the anti-vaccination contingent, and lying politicians are easily exposed as just wrong when confronted with . . . just facts. Now, yet another front has opened up in the battle against deception. Technology has advanced to such a degree that the adage “seeing is believing” is no longer a guarantor of veracity.  So, accept nothing at face value. Take a look at this video: (Read more . . .)

Just about its only attractive feature was the price.

Dispatches from The Esso Club

“The Cotton Bale & The 20s Chevy: A Story from My Father (Revisited),By Ted Balk

CENTRAL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2018—The car was distinctive in many ways. It wasn’t new, that’s for sure. It was a mid-1920s-model Chevy that had been just about completely stripped down. The old four-cylinder engine was running on only two cylinders. The vacuum fuel feed system wasn’t working, so you had to manually add gas as you drove along (more about that later). There was hardly enough sheet metal left on the body to say it had ever had a color but, if you had to guess, you would probably go for black under the rust. Just about its only attractive feature was the price. (Read more . . .)

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