Archive for the Recommendations & Tributes Category

Power Corrupts People

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Education / Schools, Ethics & Morals, History, Recommendations & Tributes, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by Drogo

Baron J.E.E. Dalberg-Acton (aka Lord Acton 1834-1902) was a noble English Catholic historian, politician, and writer. Lord Acton knew several major foreign languages. Acton’s linguistic and religious passion may have influenced Tolkien many years later. A fellow Catholic, Tolkien used the literary legacy that power tends to corrupt even the best men, as his main theme. In Lord of the Rings, the most powerful Ring cannot be used as a tool for good by even the best heroes, because they too would eventually be corrupted, no matter their intentions. The revelation seems to be that power is part of Original Sin as described in the the Bible, in the book of Genesis, in the Garden of Eden. The Old Testament myth that humans fell from the grace of godly paradise because we submitted to the evil temptation of power (the apple advocated by the serpent), seems to have found new expression in the words of these men. Acton collected a large historical library for the “History of Liberty”. Acton was politically Liberal, and travelled greatly. Acton loved reading original historic letters. Acton lived at his country house in Aldenham, Shropshire; and served in the House of Commons. Acton admired the U.S. Government for the Constitution, but oddly sided with the southern Confederacy for defending individual citizen liberties against the tyranny of Union Federal empire (while ignoring slavery). Acton was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order, as a Knight Commander (KCVO).

“History is the arbiter of controversy, the monarch of all she surveys.” “There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success.” [about Oliver Cromwell] “The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge.” “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”

In 1887 Lord Acton wrote his most famous quote:

“…I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you super-add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. You would hang a man of no position like Ravaillac; but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the jailer to murder Mary, and William III of England ordered his Scots minister to extirpate (destroy) a clan. Here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes; you would spare those criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them higher than Haman (biblical Persian minister in the Book of Esther), for reasons of quite obvious justice, still more, still higher for the sake of historical science.”

He is best known for that remark he wrote in a letter to an Anglican bishop; but according to an editor of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: “Lord Acton has left too little completed original work to rank among the great historians; his very learning seems to have stood in his way; he knew too much and his literary conscience was too acute for him to write easily, and his copiousness of information overloads his literary style. But he was one of the most deeply learned men of his time, and he will certainly be remembered for his influence on others.”

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Mohandas ‘Bapu’ Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian Hindu non-violent civil disobedience activist. Gandhi was leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Gandhi’s self-sacrifice inspired freedom movements for civil rights across the World. Raised in a merchant caste family in India, he later trained in law in London. Gandhi first used non-violent civil disobedience in South Africa, for colonial civil rights. Returning to India in 1915, he organized farmers and workers to protest against high land tax and bigotry. Leading the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led national campaigns for social causes and self-rule (Swaraj).

Gandhi helped India challenge the British salt tax by marching in 1930. In 1942 Gandhi called for the British to leave India. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in South Africa and India. Gandhi lived modestly in a community and wore a traditional hand-spun Indian dhoti and shawl. Gandhi was vegetarian and took long fasts for spiritual and political reasons. Muslim Nationalism (Pakistan) and Gandhi’s Hindu pluralism in India helped to force Britain out of India in 1947.

Displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs migrated; and religious violence broke out in Punjab and Bengal. Gandhi visited the riots to help and fasted to stop religious violence. Hindu nationalist conservatives criticized and assassinated Gandhi. Gandhi’s birthday is commemorated in India as a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence. As with all martyr heroes that lives real lives, Gandhi had many human flaws of the sort that might be emphasized more when historical writers express loss of popular favor their cults.

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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s work was certainly influenced by the events of the World Wars, despite his public refusal of metaphor speculation. ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ explores abuse of corrupt power, by considering that the temptation of use of power can eventually corrupt anyone. The One Ring of Power created by Sauron promises great power, but eventually corrupts all who use it. Even good people are corrupted by lust for the Ring because of its power to rival Sauron, and by using its vast powers even the lightest souls darken. The ones best able to carry the Ring are innocent souls with meager ambition, and the best they can do with the Ring is to destroy it.

Tolkien said these words about power: “The proper study of man is anything but man, and the most improper job of any man . . is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” [Letters #52] Tolkien believed that leaders should be judged by their example, more than common people are judged [James 3:1]. Power and authority allow for the most terrible things. The misuse of power often ruins leaders and followers who allow the abuse to happen. Vigilant active citizens will demand wise balance.

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Power within us and others is clearly our responsibility; not only to control our own will power to keep it within reason, but also to influence the power that we allow others to hold over us and others. If citizens cannot control their own leader’s passion for power from within a government using democracy, then it will be left up to other governments in other countries (see World Wars). The conclusion to the problem of power is perhaps best summarized by Spiderman in Marvel Comics – “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

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RIP Artist Thor Carlson

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2018 by Drogo

E. Thor Carlson was from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, of Finnish descent. Thor Carlson was best known for his Oil Paintings and Woven Tapestries, but he was also a WW2 veteran. [1925-2013]

“At Yale studied with Eugene Savage, Louis York, Dean Keller, and Sante Graziani. Before graduation, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for a year’s study at the Academia in Florence to study fresco painting. Returning to Yale, he completed his fifth and final year, studying with Josef Albers and Willem DeKooning. He graduated ‘In Primi Honoris’ with a BFA in painting (1951). After graduation he went to New York City, working first as a Junior Art Director at the advertising firm of McCann-Erickson and, later, on advise from well known muralist, Allyn Cox, as a free-lance mural painter. He became a member of the National Society of Mural Painters (1956) after painting a mural in the Waldorf-Astoria for Conrad N. Hilton. In 1986, he moved to Charlestown, New Hampshire. During the summer of 1987, he was a “Visiting Artist” at Saint Gaudens National Park in Cornish. Tapestry weaving has occupied much of the artist’s work during the past thirty-four years. His grandmother taught him Scandinavian methods for tapestry. Many of his tapestries have won prizes. His tapestry, “Peaceweaver’s Web”, on exhibit at the Entler Hotel Gallery, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was viewed by President Bill Clinton during the Israeli-Syrian Peace Conference in January 2000.” – from his website

“Thor visited with my family, and we visited with him for many days over many years from the 1980s to 1990s and a few times after 2000 before my father died in 2009. I mailed him back some of his paintings which were in our gallery but we did not own. We sold some of the pieces we owned, but still have others. He shared with me many personal insights into his art and his writing, and was always kind and gentle. I almost studied oil painting with him, but instead discussed descriptive narrative with him regarding our related thesis work about ‘dwelling’. I was greatly influenced by his style, from having his paintings in our house on display all my life. My favorite times spent with him were reflective at Lake Sunapee, in his house, and at Saint Gaudens. It was my father that got his work displayed at the Entler, and got Clinton in to see the exhibit by running into the street and waving his hands in front of the motorcade. Clinton remembered my father as Mayor of Harpers Ferry during the Earth Day events previously, so he agreed to check out Thor’s Peace Tapestry.”  – Walton Stowell II

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Drogo’s Funeral Party

Posted in Events / Celebrations, Pagan, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2018 by Drogo

Upon the Death of Drogo Empedocles, there shall be a party.

Eventually I will die. When my death comes, I will have a party for friends and family.

The affordable funeral ceremony will be a party at a park, farm, or garden; organized by my PR and any of my close friends (Beamer, Jeffy, Aeyla) that volunteer to help announce and send invitations. My funeral party will be open to anyone who wishes to attend and pay respect to my life and celebrate memories living on in their own lives. The PR will decide on the portion of my treasures (art, books, collections) to present to family and attendees who are minor beneficiaries. Paid live musicians. Fire offerings should be herbs, clothes, and my cremated ashes. If alcohol is not allowed at the property, attendees can have an after-party for toasts. Time: Noon to at least Dusk, and on to Midnight if possible.

(this is part 6 of my Last Will and Testament 2018)

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Corporate Media Fails Democracy

Posted in news, Politics, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Drogo

Sadly it is up to bloggers and independent media to hold corporate government and media accountable, as underfunded as we are. In 2016 I would watch Bernie Sanders lectures online with enormous live crowds, while all news networks ignored his popularity and instead chose to air Clinton and Trump as their two pre-selected favorites. Every single day, every week, for months during the National election campaigns. It was blatantly obvious to me time after time, that our public news was being filtered in favor of the two candidates that their bosses had decided were worth reporting on. It was a ridiculous ‘good guy vs bad guy’ show, with no room for rational public dialog on issues that affect us.

The failing of big news media outlets to cover all the candidates was not just by ‘for-profit’ corporations like the major commercial tv networks, but also newspapers and ‘non-profits’. Obviously commercial news networks [FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, NY Times] would not want to advocate any politicians that threaten their corporate sponsors, but apparently even the ‘liberal’ news shows of NPR & PBS were not immune to their corporate sponsors either, despite receiving our tax payer money (some government funding) and a majority of their money from PUBLIC pledge-drives!! I will no longer donate to my beloved NPR or PBS until they begin to cover the smaller candidates much more during (at least) National elections. Usually NPR or PBS were the only intelligently sensitive news sources I had to rely on for many years, and I still love many of their shows. However the National election press coverage clearly showed that corporate money corrupts even the media, not just our government. In hind-sight they have done this with many other ‘lesser known’ but brilliant candidates that have represented popular beliefs, like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Cynthia McKinney.

We must remember that our media and government is there to serve us, not the other way around. If corporations insist on forcing us to submit to their influence, by dictating what or who gets propaganda and attention and how they get it, then we must not only resist but supply alternative solutions and vote for change. We the people must unite and show our opinions for support or boycott publicly. Thank you to all those who have done this resistance fighting already!!! Remember, remember, how they foiled our democracy; and have been doing it for a long time. Please continue to seek the truth so that democracy can work for us.

Bernie Sanders

My Tribute to Actress Bette Ford

Posted in Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2017 by Drogo

When i was a kid, a Hollywood actress came to stay at our Bed & Breakfast in Harpers Ferry.

Her name was ‘Dingeldein’, but she had changed it to ‘Bette Ford’. Anyway she was so sweet to me, calling me cute etc, and she talked to me like a human she really liked. She learned i liked Ghostbusters, and she was friends with the actor that played Viggo the Cartpathean in G2, so she mailed me his large photos with signatures to me his fan. I must have been 12 years old, but it changed my life to know that i could talk to the people that i saw in shows like Hunter on TV, or get notes from famous movie actors, suddenly it felt like i could live the way i want when i grow up. I think i started to realize that the happiest adults pursue what they want, even if it is as insane as acting.

from Wikipedia:

“Bette Ford (born Harriet Elizabeth Dingeldein; June 24, 1937) is an American actress and former model and professional bullfighter. She was the first American woman to fight on foot in the Plaza México, the world’s largest bullfight arena. Bette Ford was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. She began her career as a model and actress in New York, where her modeling credits included stints as the Jantzen Bathing Suit Girl, the Camay Bride, and the Parliament Cigarette Girl, and her acting credits included appearances as a regular on The Jackie Gleason Show and The Jimmy Durante Show. While on a modeling photo shoot in Bogotá, Colombia, Ford was introduced to the renowned matador Luis Miguel Dominguín and watched him fight in the ring. Soon after, Ford left New York for Mexico to train as a bullfighter. Warner Bros made a short documentary about her training.

Her historic debut at the Plaza México was followed by several years of fighting as a figura (bullfighting celebrity) in Mexico and the Philippines. The studio MGM, which had offered her an acting contract before she left New York to become a bullfighter, planned a full-length feature film based on her life story, and sent several writers, among them John Meston, the co-creator of Gunsmoke, to meet with Ford and discuss a screenplay. Ford married Meston shortly after they met and then retired as a bullfighter. Ford has appeared in feature films including the Clint-Eastwood-directed ‘Sudden Impact’ and ‘Honkytonk Man’, and television series including Cheers, L.A. Law, Melrose Place, and Felicity. Her voice can be heard in ‘The Animatrix’, the companion animated DVD of the film trilogy ‘The Matrix’, and numerous commercials.

Shortly after moving back to New York, she married another actor, David Ford, whose name she kept after the marriage ended. She later married John Meston (who died in 1979) an American radio and television writer best known for creating, along with Norman Macdonnell, the long-running radio and TV series, Gunsmoke. Her third and current husband is Scott Wolkoff.”

i lost touch with her because as a kid i was not good at writing to adults. I learned that even famous people can care about those without as much fame or ‘success’. Which of course begs the question of what ‘success’ can be for most people.

  • Valley of the Sun …. Bunny McGill (2011)
  • The Animatrix …. (voice only)
  • Final Flight of the Osiris …. (voice only)
  • The Division …. (TV Episode)
  • Felicity …. (TV Episode)
  • ER …. (TV Episode)
  • Providence …. (2 TV episodes)
  • Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place …. (TV Episode)
  • Promised Land …. (TV Episode)
  • A River Made to Drown In …. Lady with Whip
  • Nash Bridges …. (TV Episode)
  • A Face to Die For (TV Episode) …. (TV Episode)
  • It Was Him or Us …. (TV Episode)
  • Party of Five …. (TV Episode)
  • Thunder Alley …. (TV Episode)
  • Tales from the Crypt …. (TV Episode)
  • Melrose Place …. (TV Episode)
  • The Wonder Years …. (TV Episode)
  • The Commish …. (TV Episode)
  • Marked for Death …. Kate Hatcher
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air …. (TV Episode)
  • Hunter …. (TV Episode)
  • Major Dad …. (TV Episode)
  • L.A. Law …. (4 TV episodes)
  • A Year in the Life …. (TV Episode)
  • Crime Story …. (TV Episode)
  • Hotel …. (TV Episode)
  • Crazy Like a Fox …. (TV Episode)
  • Cheers …. (2 TV episodes)
  • St. Elsewhere …. (TV Episode)
  • Emerald Point N.A.S. …. (TV Episode)
  • Sudden Impact …. Leah
  • Falcon Crest …. (TV Episode)
  • Falcon Crest …. (TV Episode)
  • Honkytonk Man …. Lulu
  • James at 15 …. (TV Episode)
  • Emergency! …. (TV Episode)

Midevil Films Review

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Fictional Stories, Film Reviews, Interviews, POB Video, Recommendations & Tributes, Roleplaying / Reenacting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2013 by Drogo

Midevil Films Productions

Mid-Western American Independent Film group

Based on Interview with Founder, Producer, Director, Writer, and Actress:  Angela Daum 

Aliases include: Arlyssen Arlussen / Olivia Alyss / Kallie Stevenson

List of some Films:

The Map, The Lesson and The Test, Angela as a Ranger, Angela as a Courier, The Three Gems, I murdered a Fairy?, Ranger Mottos, MCIS, Midevil Crime Investigation Service, The Day in the Life of a Courier, How to wash your K9, Andrew Audition

Angela has fun with all her films, and the actors are good and play along well with the script for a finished result. She is a maverick woman who is both a passionate writer and a bold actress. She is a loyal to her crafts and her friends.

Watch their films on Youtube Channel Ranger Alyss. Angela’s favorite scene from Angela as a Ranger is: “What I have I gotten myself into.” Angela: “The weeds you just walked into them.”

For Angela film making is a passion she want to continue for as long as possible; with more shows and films on the way!!

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End of Interview with Angela of Midevil Films.

– squirrel happens! –

Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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