Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sophia and Eduardo

Anti Mubarak Demonstration, San Francisco, 29 January 2011

To see a slide show of this demonstration, click the title above.

Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins

Click on the title above to see a documentary on the insidious SOA (School of the America), the U.S. government's school to train assassins.

Fred Goldsmith's Photography Website Launched

To see Fred Goldsmith's newly launched photography website, click on the title above -- but it will also join other friend's websites, ever available in the list to the right on my blog page -- and I hope I gave proper fanfare introduction for each of them.
Fred's design for his website, you will find, is very restrained and elegant.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fifty Nests and the Birds That Built Them

For lovers of art and nature photography -- and for the photographers I know who ought to publish a book of their work -- have a look at Sharon Beal's new book -- Click on the title above, NESTS:  Fifty Nests and the Birds That Built Them

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Chinese Character for Tao (Dao), "the Way"

I suppose there may be copyrights on the three representations of the Chinese character for Tao (the Way) shown at right of this text, but I simply want to show them as examples before presenting my new version of the character:  I am prepared for anyone who wishes to call my new version the "comic book" version!
In "The Spirit of the Chinese Character" (Barbara Aria with Russell Eng Gon), the character, "tao," is said to have originally meant a "course of action," perhaps a military one, as the character combines "foot" or "to follow" with "the leader" -- a "head" topped with two plumes (in ancient days signifying the rank of general."  To Confucius (the law-giver type), tao is the "way" of life rules and moral rectitude, while to Lao-tzu (the intuitive type) "Tao" is the fluid truth of the universe.
Just as its meanings were being transformed in the beginning, friends and I see still other images in the character.  For instance, it is a ladder to one; to me, a ladder with broken rungs, suggesting how the Way is not straight and narrow and easy -- One sometimes goes into cul-de-sacs (one rung may break under foot), and one must take a leap or back out, having lost the main way (as Dante says in the first lines of his Divine Comedy) and continue the search to find the true Way, the search, constantly refined, that IS the Way -- Don't you think?  Two ways of coloring my version -- just for the fun of it:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding the Origin of Names

Paul Harmon has provided me a website you can access by clicking on "Finding the Origin of Names," above, where the meanings of names can be found, and where they originated on earth.

What follows will be of no interested except to my relatives:

It has verified what I had always heard in my father's family, that the Eilers came from a part of northern Germany that borders with the Netherlands.  I could not find the name "Niehaves" (a variation of Neuhaus or Newhouse, perhaps), which was the name of my great grandfather, whose widowed wife and sons were taken in by the Eilers in Michigan and given that family's lat name.  According to this site, the Eilers outside Germany settled mostly in the U.S. and Canada.

Other people, researching my mother's family, the McColleys, have established that they were in the U.S. before the Revolutionary War -- I have wondered if they came as bonded servants, but there is no reason to think so.  They were among the Scots who  came down to northern Ireland, coming to be known as the Scots-Irish -- some say, an immigration arranged by the English to dilute Irish national identity -- that too I cannot verify.  But the odd thing is that any connection with Ireland, or even Scotland, is not indicated on their map; whatever McColleys are still in the British Isles seem to be almost entirely in the lower and mid part of England.
But most McColleys are in the U.S.A., and, according to those who researched the family, were first in New England, but now are concentrated in about ten states, especially Montana and Minnesota.  In my native Indiana, the largest concentration is in Wabash and Owen Counties; next, in level of concentration of McColleys, and where my mother's people lived, was Lake County, and Porter County next to it.  McColleys were also in the counties St. Joseph, Kosciusko, Tippecanoe, Shelby, Rush, and Henry.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Newly Published Translations

If you would like to read my translations of four German verses, plus the biographical texts they require on the translated poets, they have just been published on-line, where you may find them by clicking on the title above, "Newly Published Translations."  It does not show the Synopsis they elicited from me as it is on their webpage introducing the new translations being featured.  The Synopsis, below, is the context in which Strauss chose these verses for his last work:

FOUR LAST SONGS:  the poems that comprise the final song cycle by Richard Strauss

Written by Hermann Hesse and Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
Translated from the German by James McColley Eilers

January 2011

In October 1947, Richard Strauss (1864-1949) went to London where Sir Thomas Beecham had organized a festival of his music.  The British, so soon after World War II, were still suspicious of this German who had remained silent about Nazis while surviving in the Third Reich.  A young reporter asked the 83-year-old composer his plans for the future.  “Oh,” said Strauss, “to die.” 

In this end-of-life state of mind, Strauss began work on his last work, the Four Last Songs (Vier letzte Lieder).   He set the song cycle, which premiered only after his death, to verses written by two poets at a similar twilight stage of their respective lives, Mermann Hesse and Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff.  Strauss’ inspiration began with his discovery of Eichendorff’s poem, Im Abendrot  (At Sunset).  Perhaps it was because Strauss and his wife had lived through a grim period of history over their fifty-four years of marriage that Strauss was moved by the Eichendorff verse, which describes an old couple who have survived a life’s journey through sorrow and joy.  At around the same time, Strauss received a copy of the complete poems of Hermann Hesse, and Four Last Songs cycle includes three of them –  Frühling (Spring), September, and Beim Schlafengehen (When I Go to Sleep).

Strauss composed the Four Last Songs with Kirsten Flagstad in mind, and she sang the first performance on May 22, 1950, in the Royal Festival Hall, London, with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"The Child" In Honor of Christina Taylor Green


Is there anyone who did not cry at the murder of the victims in Tucson, most particularly at the death of Christina Taylor Green?  Obama, in his speech commemorating these citizens, found the greatest touchstone for political behavior:  Would your next act be worthy of that child’s imagination of how great the U.S could be?  There is a longstanding “spiritual” map for the human race:  The original Age of the Matriarchy was supplanted by the Age of the Patriarchy, and, finally, we may hope the gender war will end, and the Patriarchy be replaced by the Age of the Child.  It is a common notion that every child represents our hope for the future.  For many reasons, there is no better guide than to ask, as President Obama did, “Would this act be worthy of the vision of America in the imagination of Christina Taylor Green?”  While using That Child's name makes the most effective rhetorical flourish, for the sake of her family, I would not want to use her name like a picket sign.  Perhaps we could say, “Would this act be worthy of the vision of That Child [or a general and universal “The  Child”]?”

And we might hope that all political figures, including President Obama, would daily, hourly, keep that touchstone in mind.  Shall we address the President and all politicians with “Would the use of drone bombers be worthy of The Child?  Would The Child approve of people without jobs and money having to do without proper health care, food to eat, a place to live?  Would causing the American people to live in a perpetual state of fear and insecurity be worthy of The Child?  Would The Child approve of concealing the thousands of tragic scenes where people are turned out of their homes?  Would The Child be pleased with the food lines outside churches?  Would The Child approve of the government announcing a hit list on various people around the globe?  Would The  Child approve of continued military adventures based on U.S. notions of exceptionalism and entitlement, pressed on by messianic notions of being the purveyors of a particular notion of truth?  Would The Child want us to restore, or find ourselves, a national democracy, or would she want us to be an empire attempting to control all on earth?  Would The Child consider it worthy for the nation, through capital punishment,  to be the murderer of murderers?

If this sounds right to you, please add your own questions.  (Watching Amy Goodman daily will provide you many, many more such questions: http:/
I intend to send this to the White House (   Perhaps you will send your own enhanced list there, and if they receive enough of the messages, perhaps one of them will be heard.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Publication of the verse "Father"

My verse, "Father," will be published fairly soon on the 2010 on-line collection of 100 verses called "The Poetry Ark."  It is very likely that you have read it before, but, if not, you can see it by clicking on the title line.