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April 2017
Vol. VII, No. 295

April 2017

La Primavera, or Allegory of Spring (detail), by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482.

La Primavera, or Allegory of Spring (detail), by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482.

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring:Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, /The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,/And bathed every veyne in swich licóur/Of which vertú engendred is the flour . . . And smale foweles maken melodye,/That slepen al the nyght with open ye,/So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,/Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages” . . . and Weekly Hubris columnists to write on wide-ranging topics. This month, Michael House, FRGS, takes us along (in his knapsack) to the far-flung Greek isle of Donoussa; naturalized American citizen Helen Noakes files a memory of becoming a full-fledged member of this country; Skip Eisiminger considers “the clown,” from all angles; William A. Balk, Jr. pens a paean to animal familiars; Dr. Guy McPherson, in the run-up to our general Sixth Extinction, itemizes his personal bucket list; and I, myself, this April, write about the Vichy Republicans now suited up for the Great Con in DC.

Donoussa: view from my terrace.

Donoussa: view from my terrace.

Polemicist on Holiday

“Voyage to Cycladic Donoussa,” By Michael House, FRGS

KINGS SUTTON England—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017—Last year, I failed to make my annual pilgrimage to a remote Greek island. Instead, I spent three wonderful weeks in Indian Kashmir, Ladakh, and Zanskar (see “Kashmir: Magic in Two Movements.” This past year in October I completed my set of Mikres Cyclades or Lesser Cycadic islands with a visit to the lovely, isolated island of Donoussa, 15 miles east of Naxos. (Read more . . .)

Taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Waking Point

“On Becoming American,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017—I am proud of the way I achieved the label “American.” It required knowing The Constitution of these United States, and the Bill of Rights, and being tested on that knowledge. The man who asked the questions—it was an oral exam—was an elderly gentleman who, with a twinkle in his eye, said, “You know more about this country than most of the people who were born here.” (Read more . . .)

Clowns in church.

Clowns in church.

Skip the B.S.

“Pieing It Forward: Clowning,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017——In the early 1950s, my parents took my sisters and me to see the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, but the only thing I recall, aside from going, is Emmett Kelly’s poignant conclusion to “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Kelly (1898-1979) was a sad-faced clown who carried a broom so that when the elephants and horses were led off stage, he could “sweep” the last stubborn pool of light into the darkness. I recall asking my father why “Weary Willie” looked so sad, and he told me of the circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut that had taken 168 lives less than a decade earlier. (Read more . . .)

Irish Setter on point.

Irish Setter on point.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Animalia Domestica,” By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017—Maternal instinct—and perhaps an inkling of eternal fame—brought a she-wolf to save the abandoned infant twins, Romulus and Remus, from death; suckling the pair, protecting the young brothers in her den on the Palatine Hill, the she-wolf set the stage for the founding of Rome. Buppy, it must be said, was no she-wolf, although the Canis lupus nurturing gene had descended intact to her. An Irish Setter, bred to be a gun-dog like her father, Buppy arrived in the family just before I was born; and, like her father, Buppy excelled in the field, quick to set and hold a point as my grandfather and his friends stalked a dinner of quail to precede their evening of storytelling and old bourbon. (Read more . . .)

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, in “Shawshank Redemption.”

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, in “Shawshank Redemption.”

Going Dark

“Bucket List,” By Guy McPherson

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017—I’m frequently asked if I’m worried about running out of money. Although I put essentially all my “retirement” funds into a homestead I don’t occupy, and although that leaves me with very little fiat currency, and although I’m far too young to die from “natural” causes, I’m not worried about running short on money before I draw my last breath. I try to keep in mind how I came into the world: struggling for air, and then crying. Covered in somebody else’s blood, slapped on the ass by a stranger, with nothing to my name. Not even a name. It got worse from there. And then, because I chose wisely my time and place of birth—not to mention my sex and race—it got better. I started with nothing, and I still have most of it left. What’s not to like? (Read more . . .)

All the president’s pinstripes.

Manafort, in pinstripes.

By Way of Being

“Quislings in Pinstripes,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2017—My sole original thought this spring is this: what’s with the god-awful pinstripe suits now being worn by every pol, pundit, and latter-day-Pétain in Washington, DC? I long for the mavens of “Queer Eye for The Straight Guy” to enlighten me. Is there some deep structure to these garish suits? These crisp, expensive white shirts? These horrific, and horrifically expensive, silk ties? Everyone on TV looks like a latter-day London banker just now, and perhaps that’s the point: pinstripes would be a corporation’s uniform of choice, and now people are, arguably, indistinguishable in America from corporations. Whatever the significance of this sartorial trend, I seem to be the first to notice it. (Read more . . .)

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