Egon Schiele letter to Franz Hauer, collector, August 1912

Egon Schiele“At the moment I am mainly observing the body movement of mountains, water, trees, and flowers. Everywhere there are reminders of movements in the human body, which are similar to the rushes of joy and pain in plants. Painting alone is not enough for me. I know that it is possible to create intrinsic qualities with colours.–In the secret places of the heart it is possible to imagine an autumnal tree in the middle of summer; it is that melancholy that I would like to paint…”

Egon Schiele, the Egoist, Jean-Louise Gaillemin, Abrams Discoveries,

Egon Schiele, Self-portrait, 1912

Philip II of Macedon Meets Olympias

Jupiter and Olympia

“On his father’s side, Alexander* was descended from Hercules through Caranus, and on his mother’s from Aeacus through Neoptolemus: so much is accepted by all authorities without question. It is said that his father Philip fell in love with Olympias, Alexander’s mother, at the time when they were both initiated into the mysteries at Samothrace. He was then a young man and she an orphan, and after obtaining both the consent of her brother Arybbas, Philip betrothed himself to her. On the night before the marriage was consummated, the bride dreamed that there was a crash of thunder, that her womb was struck by a thunderbolt, and that there followed a blinding flash from which a great sheet of flame blazed up and spread far and wide before it finally died away. Then, some time after their marriage, Philip saw himself in a dream in the act of sealing up his wife’s womb, and upon the seal he had used there was engraved, so it seemed to him, the figure of a lion. The soothsayers treated this dream with suspicion, since it seemed to suggest that Philip needed to keep a closer watch on his wife. The only exception was Aristander of Telmessus, who declared that the woman must be pregnant, since men do not seal up what is empty, and that she would bring forth a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like. At another time a serpent was seen stretched out on Olympias’ side as she slept, and it was this more than anything else, we are told, which weakened Philip’s passion and cooled his affection for her. The reason for this may either have been that he was afraid she would cast some evil spell on charm up on him or else that he recoiled from her embrace because he believed that she was the consort of some higher being.”

*Alexander III of Macedon (“Alexander the Great”), 356-323 BCE.

The Age of Alexander, Plutarch, 75 A.C.E. translation by Ian Scott-Kilvert, Penguin Books, 1973.

Giove seduces Olimpiade 1526-1534, fresco at Palazzo Te Mantova, by Giulio Romano.

State Dinner for the Gorbachevs, 1987


“Our Soviet guests had informed us in advance that they would not be wearing black tie, although all state dinners are formal affairs. Tuxedos just aren’t worn in Soviet society, where they’re seen as a symbol of bourgeois capitalism. This situation had come up before, with the Chinese and with President Sadat. The Americans wore black tie, and our guests came in business suits. Raisa wore a black brocade gown…

…Following protocol, Raisa sat next to Ronnie at his table, while Gorbachev sat with me. On the other side of Raisa we put Vernon Walters, our ambassador to the United Nations. He speaks Russian, and I knew he’d keep the conversation going. And maybe Ronnie would be spared a lecture!

Next to me I put Richard Perle, the brilliant and controversial assistant secretary of Defense. Richard has very strong views on the Soviet Union, and he isn’t shy about expressing them. Gorbachev seems to enjoy a good give-and-take, and he likes it when people challenge him….

…Gorbachev had never met Richard Perle, but he certainly knew who he was. Moreover, he had recently seen a dramatic reconstruction of the Reykjavik meeting, which was produced in England by Granada Television. Perle, who is portly, had been played by a rather slim actor. ‘Oh, yes,’ teased Gorbachev when I introduced them, ‘When I saw you on television, you were a lot thinner.’

I didn’t hear all of their conversation, but at one point Perle asked Gorbachev flat-out: ‘What percentage of the Soviet GNP goes for defense?’

‘That’s a secret,’ replied Gorbachev, ‘and I won’t answer it.’

‘Are you sure you know?’ asked Perle.

‘I know everything,’ Gorbachev replied, ‘I’m head of the Defense Council, so you’re dinning with a military man.’

‘I think you’re spending twenty percent, and probably more,’ said Perle. Gorbachev just looked at him without any expression.”

My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan, Nancy Reagan with William Novak, Dell Publishing, 1989.

“The Razor’s Edge,” Pocket Book Edition, 4th printing, January, 1947

The Razor's Edge

“Strange Pursuit

Somerset Maugham, master story-teller, weaves a plot of mysterious romance against a background of Paris, the Riviera, and India. Larry Darrell, desired by a passionate girl and tempted by wealth, surrenders both in order to seek a faith. His search carries him to Paris bistros, to the embraces of a frustrated widow, and to his discovery of a spiritual power among the mystics of the East.

The force of this novel is Larry’s almost miraculous influence on three people: Isabel, a lusty beauty who lives for the physical things of life; Sophie, who is driven by tragedy to complete degradation; and Elliott, whose one aim in life is to improve his position in an amoral society.

Here, says Time magazine, is ‘one of Maugham’s three major novels.’ It has been a Literary Guild selection and a motion picture starring Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney.”

Pocket Books, Inc. Rockefeller Center, New York, 1947.

The Earliest Cities

Ur“The city represented a new degree of human concentration, a new magnitude in settlement. The ancient city of Ur, the early home of Abraham, with its canal, harbors, and temples, occupied 220 acres, while the walls of Uruk encompassed an area of just over two square miles. Khorsabad, about 700 B.C., enclosed some 740 acres; Nineveh, a century later, perhaps 1,800 acres; while later still, Babylon, before its destruction by the Persians, was surrounded by at least eleven miles of walls.

What is harder to estimate is the population of these ancient towns. They were at first limited by the same difficulties in transport as early medieval Western towns, and seem to have had populations of the same order, that is, from about two thousand to twenty thousand people. Probably the normal size of an early city was close to what we would now call a neighborhood unit: five thousand souls or less.

Frankfort, digging in Ur, Eshnunna, and Khafaje, which flourished about 2,000 B.C., found that the houses numbered about twenty to the acre, which gave a density, he calculated, of from 120 to 200 people per acre, a density certainly in excess of what was hygienically desirable, but no worse than that of the more crowded workmen’s quarters in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century: in both cases perhaps offset a little by the presence of canals.”

“The City In History,” Lewis Mumford, Horizon, July, 1961, Volume III, Number 6

Ruins in the Town of Ur, Southern Iraq, 2006, Photograph: M. Lubinski.

Monitor everything they do!

Screenshot (729)“OverSpy monitors your child or spouse while you are away then emails you reports! OverSpy captures all online conversations, web sites visited, all emails sent and received, all keystrokes typed, all computer operations and opened documents, and takes screenshots every few minutes. Total surveillance! All this is happening in full stealth mode so the person you are monitoring will never be aware of it.” OverSpy – Advanced Spy Software Partner

“If you want us to prove that your wife, husband or partner is having an affair, we will find out and provide you with the evidence.We use both male and female surveillance detectives to carry out field work, along with using covert computer technology to monitor your partner’s activities on their computer. An increasing number of unfaithful relationships start with them using on-line community sites such as Facebook and My Space, dating agencies, and chat rooms. We are also able to prove if your wife or husband has another child by someone else that they have not told you about.” SGH & Associates Private Investigators

Infidelity? Cheating Spouse? Find out what’s really going on, the quick and easy way, with the CHECKMATE 5 Minute Infidelity Test Kit. CHECKMATE is the only product of it’s kind that can actually monitor your spouse’s sexual activity outside of the relationship! The Patent Pending 5 Minute Infidelity Test Kit is simply the easiest and most cost effective way to put an end to the nightmare of suspicion and doubt caused by the infidelity of a cheating spouse. If you need to know what’s really going on in your relationship and you need to know now, try the Checkmate 5 Minute Infidelity Test Kit. It really works!” Checkmate Testing Kit

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Published by S. H. Knox & Co.

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This postcard was published by by S.H. Knox & Co. (1884-1911).  The American publisher Seymore Horrace Knox owned a chain of 5-and-10-cent stores that were eventually incorporated into his cousin Frank Woolworth’s chain. S.H. Knox & Co. postcards had a distinctive typeface (seen above in the lower right corner), which was similar to the modernist font the architect Mies van der Rohe later designed for the Toronto-Dominion Center.

Lady Bird Johnson Home Movie #26: Friends visit the LBJ Ranch, Fall 1955

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In the late 1930s, Lyndon Baines Johnson gave his wife Lady Bird  a movie camera. She later narrated over nine hours of footage, which was enhanced with a musical score. The fascinating films she shot of the 36th president are available on the LBJ Presidential Library’s YouTube page.

In the fall of 1955, Senate Majority Leader Johnson  was convalescing from a major heart attack. He would not leave his Texas ranch and return to Capitol Hill until December. Lady Bird captured her husband’s gregariousness, power, charisma, ambition, comfort at wearing swimming trunks when everyone else was in a suit, his adoration of their dog Little Beagle Johnson, and the overwhelming force of his personality.

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“Hubert Humphrey, and Muriel, and their son Skipper came by to visit us on their way back from vacation time in, Arizona, I believe.”

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“See how slim Lyndon is!”


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“Here are Linda, and Lucy, checking out the new pool.”

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“See how bronzed and slim Lyndon is!”

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“There’s Beagle, who was never far from Lyndon in those days.”

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“And here is Stu Symington, back to see us. Five years ago he came.”

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“The hammocks, the outdoor chairs, were a big part of life. We seldom stayed indoors, if the sun was shinning, which it nearly always is.”

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“And there’s Jim McConaughey of Life, he was killed in a plane crash not long afterwards.”

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“And there’s Senator Kerr, complete with galluses.”

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“John Connally and Clark Clifford get the once over from Beagle.”

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“Lyndon is showing Frank and Ruth Stanton the ranch.”

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“The weather at the ranch is very sunny, and very benevolent.”

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“Albert Jackson, and Jane, down from Dallas to visit us.”

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“Lyndon always swam with his dark glasses on if the sun was bright.”

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“And there is Estes Kefauver.”

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“Estes came down, and he and Lyndon went for a hunt, and he killed a good buck. I remember they left before the sun came up. I got up and gave them coffee and then went straight back to bed.”

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“And there’s Lyndon’s sister Josefa.”

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“George Reedy in the background.” (the modest narrator Lady Bird is to the left)

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“The wind was always blowing at the ranch. There’s the morning’s kill, in the old car that we now call The Tank, because it’s so heavy to drive.”

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“There’s Estes. With the symbol of the Democratic Party.”


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“And here is a press conference. Estes, Lyndon, Grace Tully.”

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“Juanita handing them a memo.”

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“Beagle was always in on everything. He saw a camera, he came running, we all accused him of it.”

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The Aragon Front, 1936

John Cornford’s Diary Letter to Margot Heinemann [Aragon] [16-30 August 1936]

Ecelan“… At the moment I am on top of a hill at the front in Aragon. A complete circle of rocky mountains, covered with green scrub, very barren, with a few fields in between. Two kilometres away a village held by the enemy. A grey stone affair with a big church. The enemy are quite invisible. An occasional rifle shot. One burst of machine-gun fire. One or two aeroplanes. The sound of our guns sometimes a long way off. And nothing else but a sun so hot that I am almost ill, can eat very little, and scarcely work at all. Nothing at all to do. We lie around all day. At night two hours on the watch–last night very fine with the lightning flickering behind Saragossa, miles away. Sleeping in the open with a single blanket on the stones–last night it rained, but just not quite enough to get through the blanket. How long we are to be here I don’t know. And now comes the catch–I came up to the front and Richard was left behind. Enlisted here on the strength of my party card. There was one little Italian comrade with some broken English. Now he’s been sent off. So I’m here and the only communication I have is with the very broken French of a young Catalan volunteer. And so I am not only utterly lonely, but feel a bit useless. However it couldn’t have been expected that everything would go perfectly as it did do here. This loneliness, and this nervous anxiety from not knowing when or how to get back, and not yet having been under fire, means that inevitably I am pretty depressed. Even thought of using my press ticket to get home, but it would be too ridiculous to come out here to fight and go back because I was a bit lonely. So I am here provisionally until the fall of Sargossa whenever that is…

In the morning–it was a Sunday– before it was yet hot, the bells of the enemy village of Perdiguera sounded very slow and mournful across the distance. I don’t know why, but that depressed me as much as anything ever has. However, I’m settling in now. Last night we began to make ourselves more comfortable–dug little trenches to sleep in and filled them with straw. So long as I am doing anything, however purposeless, I feel fine. It’s inactivity that just eats at my nerves. But the night before last I had a dream. One of the toughest people when I was small at school was the captain of rugger, an oaf called D–. I was in the same dormitory and terrified of him. I hadn’t thought of him for years, but last night I dreamed extremely vividly about having a fight with him and holding my own, and I think that’s a good omen. I don’t know how long we stay on this hill, but I am beginning to settle down to it…”

Collected Writings, John Cornford, Carcanet Press Limited, 1986.

Photograph: Ecelan