Thursday Poem: T.S. Eliot, Preludes Part 3


You tossed a blanket from the bed
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

Has there been a better poet writing in English in the past 150 years?   Probably not.

The depth of commitment to his metaphysical vision and the breadth of that vision is remarkable.   Look at the rhyme and meter!  Sinful.

The Decline and Fall Of Declinism: Article in The American

Here is the link.

Many people desperately want America to be imperial, war-mongering and perpetually in decline:  this confirms many of the ideas they want to be true.  

Even Pat Buchanan likes declinism but for different reasons: the moral decline of secular society…. for failure to live up to religious commandments.

So, anti-declinism articles like this one can be a good antidote against all that.  Walter Russell Mead can be too.

Is it all just declinism and anti-declinism out there?

Reminds me of a certain movie…


Photo found here.

Hurricanes By Popular Demand

Here are some hurricane links I’ve found:

1. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

2. The Red Cross-How to Prepare

4. The Weather Channel-One of the best places to track hurricanes once they form.

Here’s a video of Hurricane Dean from space (it’s enormous) and here are some people feeling the force of hurricane winds.

Also, read about the deadly Key West hurricane here.

Addition:  Here’s a good link to the 10 most deadly hurricanes.  Click here for some NASA fun.

Wimshurst Machines: Fun Times

There isn’t a shortage of good pages to find out about this machine.  Here is a page detailing restoration.

Here is a recent bloggingheads episode featuring a Wimshurst and a good explanation of how it works.

It’s a pretty low rent venture here, so you’ll have to click here for a simple diagram and here for photos. Apologies.

Does anyone know where I can get one at a good price?

See also:  Electrostatic induction, Leyden Jars, Van De Graaff, Tesla Coil, Singing Tesla Coil

Addition:  Here’s a good page for direct current electrostatic devices.

Addition:  New bloggingheads this week has a Ruhmkorff coil and a De La Rive tube demonstration.  Er…yes, Ruhmkorff and De La Rive.

Best explanation I’ve of how a Wimshurst works here.

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Andrew Revkin In The NY Times: Global Warming Moderation

Andrew Revkin is the NY Times global warming reporter and he’s able to keep the science in mind amid all the intense idealism and desperate desire to believe in global warming that surround him.

And that’s just at the NY Times!

In the video piece that can be found here (updated), he argues that the debate is finally centering itself.   

1.  Revkin is helping to make space enough to discuss the position moderately.  Maybe it will allow more people to think critically and openly about oil, the benefits and drawbacks.

2.  He suggests that there are two poles of global warming positions that are not helping the discussion….Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear for example, and Al Gore’s movie.

Yes, that’s right.  Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, is being portrayed as holding an extreme position by the NY Times.  

Thank you for keeping a cool head, Mr. Revkin.

As before, I still reserve the right to be skeptical about global warming in its entirety, so I don’t entirely agree with Revkin that global warming is happening at the pace he suggests. 

Here’s a quote I like to keep in mind:

“…a light broke upon all natural philosophers. They learned that reason only perceives that which it produces after its own design; that it must not be content to follow, as it were, in the leading-strings of nature, but must proceed in advance with principles of judgement according to unvarying laws, and compel nature to reply its questions.”

Immanuel KantPreface to the Critique of Pure Reason

Addition:  Here is Revkin with Fred Guteri and Jeffrey Kluger on Charlie Rose

Update:  Maybe he’s not accurate enough:  Watts Up With That has more.

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National Air and Space Museum!

I’ve been travelling this week and got to visit the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington D.C.

They have a kids section where I spent a few hours playing with all the gadgets.

There are great explanations and demonstrations of the Bernoulli principle, and both Keplers’ and Newtons’ Laws. They also show some of the unique challenges with both atmospheric and space flight, as well as supersonic drag.

Highly recommended, and fun.

We also met a nice, older Danish guy. He had travelled the world as a mechanical engineer (diesel engines on large ships) but said he really enjoyed languages. He spoke English extremely well, Danish, French, German and goes regularly to Guatemala as a part of a Spanish immersion course. He was 70 years old and this was his first trip to America, and with no hint of rudeness suggested that this was because he’d gotten a great deal on tickets…..ah, well.

Washington is definitely worth the trip.


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James Tate: The Blue Booby

The Blue Booby

The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks
of Galapagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators.
Also, the males do not
make fools of themselves
chasing after the young
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them
a nest—an occasional
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from
a sailor’s suit. This
replaces the need for
dazzling plumage;
in fact, in the past
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller,
nor can he sing well.
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her
completely, has
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her
a new shred of blue foil:
for this she rewards him
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them
like the eyes of a mild savior

James Tate

Addition: Maybe Tate never got married.

Another Addition:  Maybe Tate’s been married a long time.