The 2017 Oscars Debacle Proves No Heretical or Heuristic Difference Between Winning and Losing

The 2017 Oscars will be forever remembered as a debacle over naming the “Best Picture” in a mixup that was more human than mechanical, and for that pleasure, I’m grateful. We continue to prove, even in our dearest moments, we are not beyond the touch of the fallible, and that we are mortally are bound to fail — by proxy of The Gods — for even tempting to create beauty over form, and meaning over function.

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The Us of Us: Aristotelian Politics in the Age of Unreason

We live in odd and curious times where politics are more performance than punditry and more perfunctory than professional. How did we get in such a mess of unequal consequences? We won’t just rise or fall and find the mean when this comet ride is over — we’re heading into a catastrophic tumble of immortal termination — just as the Gods before us fell from the temple and humankind stopped looking to the heavens for confirmation of the merits of their lives in the glow of the clouds and decided to forgive their own sins while skipping the punishments.

In critical moments, I turn to my training, and seek the greater mind, and the more universally sophisticated aesthetic for guidance and comfort. As, Aristotle wrote, in “Politics” —

Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.

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Not Everything Should Go

We are often confronted with the mandate of youth, and the conundrum of wisdom in the matter of — “Everything Goes!” — and I stand here to humbly submit that not everything must go. Sometimes, we need prescience and determination to realize the lack of self-restraint and that an untrained, unsavory, following can become profound enough to dangerously dismiss the best of us.

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A View of New York City from the Hoboken Waterfront

Janna and I had a delightful weekend in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Hoboken is a great city with a wonderful, intimate, small-town feel surrounded by massive urban areas like Jersey City and Newark and, of course, the center of the world — New York City — is right across the Hudson river.  Hoboken reminds us of our hometowns of Council Bluffs, Iowa and Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Court Square Subway Wall Mural in New York City

Here’s a brief video of a wall mural from the Court Square subway station in Queens.  I like the colors.  I support public Art projects in public spaces.  Video after the break.

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The Titular, Circular, Cyclical and the Forlorn: Rescuing Robert Frost from Himself

Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry.  He was an earthy icon and, in some eyes, an American shame, for the man could love only himself and not his children or his wife. I’m not sure if that’s a crime against himself, or his promises, but there is no denying the man was an original and he knew how to write and he knew what he was.

Marred by the mistake of genius, Robert Frost cared only for his poetry, and his legacy, and that’s why the new fascination with protecting Frost’s legacy on the page is so intriguing.

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Michelangelo’s 16th Century Cipher Image Communication

One internet meme that is taking flight on social media is the handcrafted glory of a grocery list Michelangelo created in the 16th century for his illiterate servant to use while shopping.

Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate,” writes the Oregonian‘s Steve Duin in a review of a Seattle Art Museum show, “Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and ‘a small quarter of a rough wine’ — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.” As we can see, the true Renaissance Man didn’t just pursue a variety of interests, but applied his mastery equally to tasks exceptional and mundane. Which, of course, renders the mundane exceptional.

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