1 February 2016
Vol. VI, No. 279

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: William A. Balk, Jr., who has lived, worked and traveled elsewhere in the United States, but who has always returned to the Balk family “home place” in the Midlands of South Carolina, this week takes up the subject of “home,” and how he defines it. He writes: “Having traveled long distances and spent long times away from my Edenic childhood haunts, I’ve found often that it is those remembered experiences and those learned lessons which give me homely comfort whenever and wherever I need it. New bounds continue to appear, new limits and new limitations ever arise, even while a life richly lived continues to offer expansive opportunity and unexpected experience. Those earliest of life’s experiences—approaching new boundaries with confidence, breaching borders with curiosity—are my ongoing preparation: I bring home with me whenever I venture forth.” In addition to Will’s deeply “grounded” essay, this week we suspend our disbelief with Tim Bayer, who shares some footage from a wind tunnel, a place neither here nor there . . . .

The author, aged about a year and a half, and his father.

The author, aged about a year and a half, and his father.

Epicurus’ Porch

“My Lifelong Voyage In A Paper Canoe” By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—2/1/2016—It is a persistent memory, somewhat disjunct, but an absolutely clear image. I remember crawling on the dirt, crawling because I am unable to stand unassisted. I am underneath a structure, in its shadow, while all around there is bright sunshine on weedy grass. I feel energized and curious, not fearful, perhaps even excited. I am determined to reach the far edge of the shadow cast by the structure looming just above my head, the place I have just escaped, the place that defines the very limits of my existence. (Read more . . .)

Leo Volkov; Champion wind dancer.

Leo Volkov, champion wind dancer.

Won Over By Reality

“Dances With Wind” By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York—(Weekly Hubris)—2/1/2016—In the video here, the apparatus in use looks like it might be some sort of zero-gravity tube. Actually, it’s a vertical wind tunnel that can be used for indoor skydiving. At the Wind Games (yes there is a competition called the Wind Games) this wind tunnel is used for 3D dancing. I was especially impressed by the skill of the 2016 champion, Leo Volkov. (Read more . . .)

Painting of a Greek cottage, by Panos Feidakis.

Paintiyng of a Greek  “cottage, by Panos Feidakis.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Bringing In The New Year, Greek Style” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—1/25/2016—After the fireworks and bubbly of the Eve and the special family lunch on the Day, January 2nd can be a slide into the slough of despond. What is there to look forward to before we revert back to daily life as usual, the same old same old routine? No papers to read, nothing but kiddie specials on the tube, no wish to start cooking again, no V8 in the fridge for our Bloody Mary, and a wrap-around greyness that discourages setting off for a beach picnic. (Read more . . .)

A purloined fig.

A purloined fig.

Roaming East Roman

“Stolen Figs, Stolen Spuds” By Alexander Billinis

CHICAGO Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—1/25/2016—I remember it well, particularly on a freezing day here in Chicago, though over three decades have passed. We anchored our boat at Molos, a small bay well south of Hydra town, where the only structures were the posh villas of several wealthy and discreet Athenian families. We often came there for a quiet swim, usually with air mattresses and our small dingy. My theia and theios (aunt and uncle) were with us on this occasion, and Theio Niko, scanning one particular villa’s grounds, saw dozens of fig trees, heavily laden. Turning his sparkling Corfiot eyes my way, he said, “Alekaki, row me to the shore,” grinning as he stripped down to his Fruit-of-the-Loom tank top and same-brand tighty-whities: “We’re off to steal figs!” (Read more . . .)

Palin endorses Trump: pot calls kettle black. (Photo by Brandi Simons/AP)

Palin endorses Trump: pot calls kettle black. (Photo by Brandi Simons/AP)

By Way of Being

“The Trumpocene Era” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

BRIGHTON New York—(Weekly Hubris)—1/25/2016—What can I, what should I, add to the noise of this past week in American politics? For the most part, I’m just speechless. Gobsmacked, in Brit-Speak. Wind knocked straight out of me. Trumpified. I have known, for decades, that American discourse was degenerating into babble; that the American academy was becoming, more and more, a dumbed-down, profit-based, high-school-equivalency engine; that American society was devolving into race-, and income-, and illusion-based ghettoes, many literally gated. I have been knowing all this. But still, somehow, the Era of The Trumpocene has come as a shock. (Read more . . .)

The predicted 9th planet.

The predicted 9th planet.

Won Over By Reality

“A New Planet – Really?” By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York—(Weekly Hubris)—1/25/2016—Maybe you’ve heard: there’s a new planet in our solar system. But wait: a new planet in our solar system hasn’t really been discovered, yet. What has happened is that a new planet has been . . . predicted. More precisely, observations of the orbits of the objects in the outer solar system provide evidence of a giant planet out there, a ninth planet, circling our sun. What I have for you this week is a short video that brilliantly condenses what is known and why scientists studying the data believe that there may indeed be a 9th planet. This would be a planet that is so far beyond Neptune that it would take 20,000 years for it to complete one orbit of the our sun. (Read more . . .)

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