Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The Ruin – Medieval Poem

Posted in History, Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Pub Library, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 21, 2020 by Drogo

The Ruin” is an elegy in Old English, written by an unknown Dark Age author of the 8th or 9th century. It was published in the 10th century Exeter Book, a large collection of poems and riddles. The poem evokes the former glory of a ruined Roman city by juxtaposing the grand, lively past state with the decaying present. The section has a large diagonal burn from a kind of branding in the center of the page. The burn has rendered many parts of the script illegible. This is a possible reconstruction interpretation:

This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it
courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.
Roofs are fallen, ruinous towers,
the frosty gate with frost on cement is ravaged,
chipped roofs are torn, fallen,
undermined by old age. The grasp of the earth possesses
the mighty builders, perished and fallen,
the hard grasp of earth, until a hundred generations
of people have departed. Often this wall,
lichen-grey and stained with red, experienced one reign after another,
remained standing under storms; the high wide gate has collapsed.
Still the masonry endures in winds cut down
persisted on, fiercely sharpened, fate honed
Nature she shoned and men atoned.
Thing of ancient skill worked
Thing of crusted mud fallen away
spirit mourned, put together keen-counselled
a quick design in rings, a most intelligent one bound
the wall with wire brace wondrously together.
Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom.
The stone buildings stood, a stream threw up heat
in wide surge; the wall enclosed all
in its bright bosom, where the baths were,
hot in the heart. That was convenient.
Then they let pour hot streams over grey stone.
under the vaulted roof and open sky,
until the ringed pool once hot,
grew weeds where the baths were.
Then is that ancient wonder gone?
Nay, here, that is a noble thing,
to the house, city, and castle ruin!

Cops Need Weed

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Medical, Military, SCOD Fallout Projects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2020 by Drogo

Two stories about the desperate search by police for pot –

This essay is based on memoir notes from my SCOD 2018 road-trip, but police have harassed me several times over the years for many minor traffic violations; usually they just gave me warnings and sometimes a ticket, but their attitude was always accusatory and offensive to be intimidating. The main problem with cops that I want to point out here, is how they are trained to lord their authority over citizens and escalate tensions which causes more problems. The ‘War On Drugs’ is unjust; but although I was more high on the coffee than I was on cannabis, I am not endorsing driving while intoxicated unsafely above legal limits. Laws against the medicinal herb called cannabis are still enforced Federally and most state and county cops still actively search and harass people for it. For those that do not understand the difference between cannabis (pot) intoxication and alcohol, in general pot makes people safer than being sober or high on coffee, because in general a pot driver will drive slower. Sometimes pot also makes the user paranoid so they check for problems more often, and hesitate to take risks. I was warned at the pot shop in Colorado and by highway signs that law enforcement officers were cracking down hard on pot, even though pot was legally being sold for the first time in almost 100 years (see racism and class warfare).

My long SCOD road-trip had gone well up until I entered Nebraska (see my notes on Cahokia & Arcosanti). I was driving from Denver CO going from route 76 to 80 into Nebraska. I saw a cop car (SUV) as I approached an underpass, and the highway narrowed to one lane in a forced merge. I observed the cop tailing me with obvious intent to find any reason to pull me over. I was pulled over by the cop for not signaling on the forced merge with no cars parallel to me, and no tight or shifting positions front to back. I had been told by cops previously not to use my warning lights when pulled over, because they consider that suspiciously incriminating as it competes with their flashy lights; so my reasoning for not using my turn signal when being forced to merge was that I did not want to act overly cautious. My out-of-state plates and car loaded up with bags were juicy for a criminally suspicious mind dedicated to law-enforcement for pay over social sympathy. Everyone knows being a cop is a hard job, because they put their lives on the line; but they can quit if the job is unreasonable, and we can demand legal reform to reduce abuse of power.

Nevada cops probably like to wait there in that forced merge spot, to stop civilian cars for that specific trivial traffic violation to search cars for drugs. The Nebraska County Cop’s name was Anderson, and he was a young white man with a snarky attitude. I had smoked some pot in Colorado hours ago, and was settled in for a safe drive across the state of Nebraska; but Officer Anderson was intent on ruining my trip. After he looked in the passenger window, he told me the feeble reason he pulled me over, and said he smelled pot; so I said that is because I smoked recently.

Officer Anderson then asked me to step out of my vehicle, and if I had any weapons he should know about. I said “No, wait what do you want to know about? What do you consider weapons? I have a walking stick.” “guns”, “no”, “knives”, “yes”, “why?”, “I like knives, they are legal and useful.”, “is this a stolen car?”, “No I own this car, it is mine.” I told Anderson that I am sorry for entering his state of Nebraska, and I could simply return to Colorado if there was going to be a problem.

Anderson patted me down and paused at my pants leg. “whats this? uh-oh, oh a button”. He told me to get in his vehicle with him, in the front passenger seat, as he was detaining me. Anderson flipped many switches, and occasionally I heard noises from the armored cell in the back. Was there an animal or another human back there? The county sheriff’s deputy Anderson then interrogated me with a series of bladerunner type questions to gauge my reactions.

Where are you coming from?”, “Arizona”, “oh yeah, how did you get there?”, “southern route through Texas, then up through Arizona and Colorado. I am tired from driving all night.”, “oh ok, how long have you been on your trip?”, “A long time”, “how long is that?”, “several weeks”, “that is not long, I consider short time days or weeks, and long time months or years”, “Ok, I meant relative to smaller day trips, im sorry sir”, “are you thirsty?”, and he proceeded to inquire about my personal life, so I explained i was feeling depressed because I had lost my house and did not know where I should live or work.

Where were you headed?”, “Iowa to visit mom, and then Indiana to visit aunt pat. Maybe im too tired to drive so I need a motel. I slowed down because im trying to not get into an accident by rushing, I would rather take my time.” “it looks like you were ready to drive straight across. where did you say your mom lived? why are you nervous? You said you were coming from Colorado, not Arizona.”

Yes I am coming from both states, I was in one before the other. ive always been afraid of cops, and last time I was pulled over because i made a wrong turn the night after my father’s funeral. A cop pulled a gun on me for wearing a bandanna, and he threatened to shoot me for getting out of my car because I thought he was a friend.” “That is not good.” “I know. he lost his ability to serve. He was a marine vet with ptsd serving as a park ranger. When i went in to the NPS ranger office to complain about him the next week, they told me they had problems with him and he was no longer there.”

The cop was a buzz-kill for sure, and tears welled up in my eyes as I recalled the times I was bullied by those in uniforms before. The pot I had earlier was sedative indica, but I was being extra safe with average speed and sensible spacing, and I remember everything about this encounter vividly. The cop made me more alert and upset, but I was still more grounded than I would have been without my medication. Yes cannabis helps me to manage my anger, and be a happier person; with a few minor side effects relative to even over-the-counter medications.

What will I find if I search your car?”, “You will find 1 joint, im not a salesman. I am not good at wanting to ask people for money; nor am I interested in convincing those who want to haggle or disagree, that my price is fair. so you wont find bags of pot. what you will find is bags of legal garden herbs I use for spiritual smoking blends called kinik-kinik: peppermint, lemon balm, mugwort, and mullein. also peacepipes. I admit I like to go to powwows.” “peacepipes are not illegal. ok im going to search your car now. if I only find what you say, you can go with a warning. the sun began to set as he searched every pocket and zipper and bag in my car. he set the colbert bag on the road, for some reason. he looked in the spare tire compartment. he shined the flashlight in my eyes when he could see i was impatient after the sun was setting. I thought for sure he was stealing my cash, planting evidence, and was going to send me to jail.

Finally he said “ok step out of the car, i am going to let you go with a warning because you were honest with me; but first we are going to destroy evidence.” He threw the joint on the road between our cars and said “step on it and crush it” so I did. A perfectly good waste of expensive legal but illegal herb. He then said I can go and pointed me in direction of the exit. “are you sure?” I said “ill need my driver’s license back, because im not that stoned.” he snorted as if to say “dont incriminate yourself by referring to any intoxication” and gave it back. I shook his hand and said thanks for showing me some respect and saving me from a fine and driving while tired; although i later found out he had damaged my grandfather’s briefcase i used for my books, because he was tearing it apart to look for hidden drugs.

When i eventually arrived in Iowa, Uncle Bruce the Corporate Democrat aggressively blamed me for ‘looking like a criminal’, and suggested cops should use more dogs on people like me who “look like one of THEM”. I asked “Who is THEM?” Luckily my Mom was sympathetic, but I have found it too uncomfortable to want to visit my Centrist Liberal relatives there anymore. Bruce also told me that only naive college students are excused for voting for a communist like Bernie Sanders. This fit in with his question about my interest in communes, but I had teased them that their Methodist retirement community was the best kind of communism. The argument I had with Uncle Bruce and Cousin James about music theory is worth an entire essay, on its own (strict reading and playing vs self expression with improvisation / literal vs abstract / classical vs jazz).

In Indiana I had another exciting adventure with Pat Long. We went to the Zoo, and had lots of local coffee before I left (which I should have mentioned to the police later, but was too nervous). Leaving Indiana East to go home: Oak st. south to Sycamore. east to 421. south to 465. east to 70, 43, 40, 68, 70. Traffic was crazy, and Ohio police were out in force pulling tons of cars and trucks over. I thought I had passed all their traps, so I sped up to just over the speed limit so i could pass some of the traffic and get out of that area; when i saw another police vehicle, waiting to pounce, so i signaled and changed lanes quickly, too quickly. Sure enough the SUV started following me too closely for me to slow down, and i felt i was too close to the truck in front of me. The police lights went on after a few seconds of following me, so i pulled over on the dangerous highway.

I was stopped in Ohio by Ohio State Troopers, again for another minor traffic violation that most cars do and are not stopped for; and again released; this time by officer Wilson after a long ordeal with his dog and his Sergeant. I was hyped up on 2 large cups of coffee, so I was fumbling around to quickly get my registration out of my glove compartment, when the cop came up on my passenger window and watched me, obviously suspecting that i was up to no good, and probably had a gun. I was simply nervous and disorganized, but he didnt care. I began by saying “I understand profiling officer, so you can search my car if you want; but I want to explain up front that I have already been pulled over by another officer who already searched my car.” He called in a sergeant who was very matter of fact about finding me at fault because I was driving too close to the vehicle in front of me (which I rarely do). “Do you remember that flat bed truck? How many car lengths were you from it, you think.” I admitted I was too close, and apologized for not being at a safer distance. Then the police dog was led around my car, and scratched at my door. Thankfully they did not use the dog to attack me, but instead they had me step out of my car again and pointed to a spot between our cars, with the roar of the busy highway beside us.

I knelt down on the pavement, allowing them to execute me with a shot to the back of the head if they want. Instead officer Wilson shouted “No! Stand.” So i quickly stood back up, and he patted me down. I explained again to him that I had PTSD with police having guns, and said I could explain why i was “so nervous” (again forgetting i was hyped up on coffee). Fortunately Wilson chose to save me another search of my car, by putting me in the armored cell in the back seat of his vehicle. There he said “Ok, talk.”

Officer Wilson allowed me to explain calmly what my problems are. He called the Nebraska officer Anderson, and confirmed my story with him. Then Wilson asked how that stop ended up, and not wanting to incriminate myself or Anderson (in case he did something illegal by destroying the evidence), i simply said “Yes he found what i told him he would find, and we worked it out.” He thanked me for my honesty. Then Wilson asked if i had other drugs, and I said “No sir, I dont do that shit.” as i stood at attention like they taught me at basic training. Then Wilson said “I am getting a ‘medicinal marijuana vibe’ from you, and said they did not think the dog smelled any existing pot, because as I had explained it was removed previously. I said with a smile, “Yes sir, you are correct.”

I know I have been lucky, I did not suffer any legal penalties. I shook hands with Wilson and I thanked him for not shooting me. He said “Cops are the good guys” and i said “I know police are supposed to be good, and sometimes do good things when they serve and protect. I thank you for your kindness, compassion, and mercy officer.”

Still shaken, I returned home to hear news of more protests against police violence and environmental pollution. I am still shaken to this day, as my mind is haunted by how my life could have been ruined if the cops had been more aggressive, and if I had not been able to manage my anger as much; or how I could have avoided the situations if I had not gone on the road-trip, or not liked herb, or any number of issues.

A city hall meeting was taken over by ‘black lives matter’ protesters in a 2018 video. Men danced across center stage, and vocally and physically showed dominance by public non-violent demonstration art. There was a new court ruling in Massachusetts – “Environmental protests are not criminally responsible by reason of necessity”. Americans are still causing anarchy now, to demand true democracy. The power of the laws rests in the people, and that can best be practiced by deliberate actions. Freedom for self-governing in politics, business, and relationships is important. Laws are made to serve us, not us to serve laws.

I could have been a cop, because using anger to bully others is easy for me. When I was a military soldier, wearing my uniform made me want to use my authority to intimidate and control others, as was done to me during training; despite my best efforts to change their arrogant attitudes that favored using threats and abuse rather than better forms of control through reward. That is when I began to see how primitive our brutish training methods still were. I became sick of being part of a command system that indoctrinated fear and abuse primarily, rather than education and compassion. I thought we had advanced more as a culture, but perhaps fear and abuse are simply easier ways to brainwash and control others to do violence, which is needed to impose the laws of an empire. As much as I dislike St. Paul, I gotta give him credit on this one, for seeing the error of his ways, during his career of authoritarian abuse on behalf of Rome. It is not fun to remember traumatic events, as our minds force us to relive them over and over; but our conscience is telling us they are important for a reason. If we can remember the reason the events might be important, then we can focus on the lessons rather than the trauma. Humanity should focus efforts to relieve suffering, not cause more of it. This is why I use my white privilege to say “All lives matter, not just cops.”

Maybe instead of militarizing the police, we need to use more cannabis and have more of a ‘please force’. To honor civil rights maybe we can regulate laws more like a large urban Mayberry, instead instead of making more fascist troops to relive Nazi Germany. Cowboy culture seems to get in the way of easing racial tensions, but that is another story about economics and greed.

Lastly, cops need weed a bit too much. I know pot is strong medicine, but I am not sure any amount of pot can solve the systemic problem of police aggression. Whoever reforms the system will need to be sympathetic to the good herb, no doubt about it. Cops need weed.

[ Audio Recording ]

Stuffed Animal Meeting

Posted in Acting / Puppets / Plays, Creativity / Imagination, Fictional Characters, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2020 by Drogo

Recently, I was able to photograph a secret toy meeting in progress.

It seems that Medium Panda, Blue Pigeon, Fluffy Chicken, and Tiny Dovelet were practicing egalitarian economics. They had four coins, which they were sharing.

20200615_192733

Suddenly Giant Panda pounced on them! Tiny Dovelet was able to escape with the coins, and sat on Giant Pandas head. Sadly Dovelet did not want to give the money away.

20200615_193059

Carl Orff – Music Composer

Posted in Biographies, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Poems, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2020 by Drogo

Music composer and educator Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany in 1895. When Carl was 29 he co-founded a school of gymnastics, dance, and music in Munich. Carl Orff’s teaching work at the school reflected his interest in musical education for children. As with Wagner and Mascagni, Orff’s work was sponsored by Fascists for nationalist propaganda.

 

Carl Orff created major works for theater stages including operas (‘The Moon’) and musical plays. Carl also wrote chamber music. Three of his cantatas are called ‘Trionfi’ (Triumphs). The first composition, ‘Carmina Burana’ (Songs of Beuron) was written in 1937, and consists of songs set to medieval texts. Orff used poems by the Roman poet Catullus in the second cantata, ‘Catulli Carmina’ (Songs of Catullus, 1943). Finally in ‘Trionfo di Aphrodite’ (The Triumph of Aphrodite, 1953), Orff compiled texts by Catullus and the Greek writers Sappho and Euripides. Orff’s style in the ‘Trionfi’ was based on rhythmic propulsion; melodies and chants in changing meters of tempo and volume over the matching motor rhythms of instrumental ostinatos.

 

Orff’s obsession with rhythm led him to develop a method to train young children by means of percussion instruments. Carl Orff used asian and medieval scales, as well as texts in several languages sung simultaneously or in overlapping rounds. In his master-pieces Orff combines instrumental music, singing, gesture, syncopation, and dance into unified spectacles. Sometimes his music emphasizes folk music harmonies. However his powerful percussive rhythms drive a heavy orchestral signature; so like Richard Wagner before him, and Basil Poledouris after him, Orff’s unique sound stands out from less bombastic popular themes.

 

‘Carmina Burana’ has been used in modern films like ‘Excalibur’, ‘The Doors’, and ‘Shadow of the Wolf’. It is also even used for commercials for films, even when not actually in the sound-tracks (‘Ravenous’). If not for Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, these movies would only be half as dramatic. Orff summed up his theories in an impressive 5-volume book called ‘Music For Children’ (1934). He revised his book in 1954, and died in 1982.

Pietro Mascagni – Opera Composer

Posted in Biographies, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Recommendations & Tributes, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2020 by Drogo

Pietro Mascagni the Italian composer was born in Leghorn, Italy. Pietro lived from 1863 to 1945. He studied in Leghorn and at the Milan Conservatory. In 1888 Mascagni entered a musical competition. Pietro presented his first one-act opera, ‘Cavelliers Rusticana’, and won first prize. Although he wrote many other operas, the other two most performed are ‘L’Amico Fritz’ (1891), and ‘Iris’ (1898). Not only did his other works lack the same enthusiasm, but they were pounded by critics. Mascagni suffered continual attacks from critics during his career, although he is one of the most famous composers. Mascagni and his beloved Italy fell under Fascist rule, duty bound to serve patriotically or be branded an enemy of the state.

 

The music of ‘Iris’ is the epitome of operatic atmosphere, as the dramatic sounds create emotional visuals. The last part of ‘Iris’ is perhaps the most sensual, as the dying body of the main character is dragged from the sewers and lies crippled; as slowly the magnificent Sun rises to meet and take her away from all this earthly suffering and discord. As the basses, violins, and horns combine to form emotional melodies; an undertone of raw passion and omnipotent renewal is created. Also the opera is filled with powerful, theatrical libretto (words). ‘Iris’ truly reflects the inspiration and cool flow of the Aesthetic movement.

 

When asked who were the greatest composers of all time, Mascagni replied “Wagner and I”, without hesitation. Pietro Mascagni was physically and socially impressive, and matched only by Toscanini on the podium. Operas flowed from Pietro’s pen, and he became the official composer for Fascist Italy. Mascagni had a fighting spirit, but became disgraced publicly by the critics; and was replaced by Giacomo Puccini. Looking back Mascagni said “It has been a bitter, relentless struggle; and I have surely not spared myself or succumbed to unworthy influences… I was not wanted; my best efforts were scorned; yet I went on writing for the sake of Italian opera, which is after all, one of the chief glories of our country”. Mascagni was a poetic nationalist to the end. Despite his critics, Mascagni is remembered as a sensitive artist, dramatic visionary, and musical poet.

Richard Wagner – Opera Composer

Posted in Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Recommendations & Tributes, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 13, 2020 by Drogo

Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig, East Germany (a city of rich cultural influence), on May 22, 1813. His parents were officially Karl Friedrich and Johanna Wagner; although there was rumor that his real father was allegedly Ludwig Geyer (an intimate friend of the family). As a child Wagner attended the best schools, and showed extreme fondness of theater. Wagner was very interested in acting and stage performances. His mother, however, threatened to curse him if he tried to make a career on stage.

 

In time Wagner became one of the most famous composers of opera music. His musical sagas of spiritual, emotional, and moral power were fueled by his fierce urge to create. Wagner influenced philosophers, authors, actors, and musicians with his music. He even built his own theater, and founded the world’s oldest summer music festival. 

 

Wagner’s first opera was ‘The Fairies’, in German romantic style. From 1833 to 1839, Wagner worked as an opera conductor in a few German cities. Other early projects included: ‘The Ban On Love’, ‘Rienzi’, ‘The Flying Dutchman’, ‘Tannhauser’, and ‘Lohengrin’. Nietzsche was a huge fan of Wagner.

 

In 1849 due to his anger at the unjust treatment of musicians, and poor operation of the theaters, Wagner took part in a failed revolution (sparked by the French Revolution). A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he fled to Switzerland. Later Wagner lived in and out of Paris, France. From 1853 to 1874, Wagner developed the great ‘Ring Cycle’ of German folklore [Nibelung – ‘Ride of the Valkyries’] . His last work, ‘Parsifal’ was completed in 1882. Wagner died in 1883.

 

Wagner’s philosophy was to have various harmonious elements of musical composition in operas. Musical composition should have climaxes and goals, to move the audience. Although his work flowed with super-noble purpose, Wagner did not take many as many dramatic risks in his personal life. There is a distinction between Wagner the human, and his immortal compositions.

Fatal Police Shootings

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2020 by Drogo

Civilian Vs. Police Deaths By Firearm Shootings 

According to the Washington Post and CNN articles more civilians are killed than police from shootings, at a ratio of apx. 50 cops / 1000 civilians. The term ‘civilian’ is used here because although police are supposed to be citizen civilians also, police have become far more militarized with their training and equipment; and police (ICE) have a war against immigrants who are not citizens. Police are taught to kill people as quickly as soldiers, making neighborhoods into war zones.

Not all civilian shootings or murders are reported by police,* to protect themselves. Even some high profile public cases where a cop clearly murdered an innocent victim, are not recorded as shootings in their official case files. So the statistics will tend to have errors in favor of the police. Many of those fatal civilian murders may be accidental or justified because the victims were violent criminals, and when the police get their parades and pay in those cases they should be congratulated. However if a few hundred of those 1,000 murders were ‘questionable’, that would still mean that cops were responsible for more than double the unjustified killings that are committed against them; and that is assuming that all cop murders are unjustified. All too often cops are considered above the law by courts, so they can commit crimes like murder legally; because “their jobs are hard, and they put their lives on the line to serve and protect”.

The stress of being a cop has more to do with our racist and unjust system, which orders cops to enforce laws against poor people, harsher and more often than against rich people. Racism has more to do with wealth than race, because more ‘whites’ are wealthier than ‘blacks’; and so racial stereotypes (profiling) have more to do with who has money for lawyers and who has political power. If more blacks had more money than whites, the racism would be reversed; therefore racism is subject to classism. Those in power keep their power by oppressing everyone else, even those in their own ‘race’.

To further explain why race is less of a factor in shootings than money, the statistics show very clearly that more whites are killed than blacks; most of the murders occurring in lower class neighborhoods, and most victims are lower class. There are more ‘whites’ than ‘blacks’, even though many ‘blacks’ may have more white relatives than black relatives. Race is far more superficial than ethnicity or culture; even personalities are more substantial than a person’s appearance. We have many more black cops now more than ever, and still more blacks are killed in proportion to their population than whites (death rate per race).

Cops shoot more whites than blacks. However the reasons why cops shoot so many people to begin with, has to do with their militarized training and equipment. It is long past time that their funding be spent on more humanist programs to retrain police to actually help people more often than hurt them. If cops were trained to be more friendly and helpful as social workers, there would be less crime and less violence in society; so there would be less excuses to brainwash citizens into bullies with badges. Currently police badges are licenses to kill.

“Although half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. Hispanic Americans are also killed by police at a disproportionate rate.” – WP

Cops shoot to death about 1,000 people annually. People shoot to death under 50 cops annually. “47 officers were gunned down by the end of 2018” – CNN

The Covid Riots are not just about George Floyd or ‘Black Lives Matter’, people of all colors are expressing their rage over the oppression of civil rights by law enforcement and those who make the laws. The masses are pissed because our cost of living exceeds our income, and we get harassed and attacked by police. The prison industrial complex is largely for profit, and allows modern slavery.

*”The police report lists Breonna Taylor’s injures as NONE, even though she was shot 8 times” and murdered in her own home without committing any crime. – Democracy Now! June 11, 2020

Cop violence is not just a black and white issue, it is a working class issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Music Theory Basics – Octave Paradox

Posted in Music Reviews, POB Audio, Science & Math, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2020 by Drogo

The Chromatic-Key Problem of Definition 

In music theory tone (note) scales are divided into ‘octaves’. Octave comes from the Latin root word for ‘eight’ (oct-). Octaves are 8 key notes labeled as 8 alphabet letters; A up to G repeated. The measuring of octaves is based on the ancient Greek geometrical distance method of double or half the frequency vibration of the other. Originally octave note measuring was based on strings, then tuning forks, and now modern Hz devices. Octave key notes are called ‘natural’, but notes are infinitely divisible; so there are major and minor scales with sharps (#) and flats (b). Sharps are higher than the natural note they are near, and flats are lower than their natural note; so A# is going to range higher than A until the mid-point between B where the tone becomes Bb. However B# is equal to C natural; thus begins the organic complexity of 12 note chromatic scale within an octave. Even with equal tempering, octave patterns can be more confusing than regular whole number arithmetic.   

Chromatic sharp scale (low to high) is A, A#, B, B#/C, C#, D, D#, E, E#/F, F#, G, G#. The chromatic flat scale is the reverse but with flats instead of sharps. These 12 chroma notes are similar to human voices because they do not divide the octaves equally. Voices are chromatic chords because they are not confined to natural or perfect key pitches, as the multiple sub-tones within a voice may bend sharps and flats, while the loudest sub-tone would be the note the voice registers as. What tones or chords we consider to be dissonant or harmonious are based on chromatic ratios and combinations. Pythagorean tuning was a Greek system where the frequency interval ratios are 3:2. The Pythagorean ratio is called the pure or ‘perfect fifth’, chosen because it is consonant for tuning by ear, and their cult obsession with the integer 3. The octave paradox can be explained as a chromatic-key math problem; where octave scale notes are based on multiples of 2 (such as 8 and 12), and note interval ratios are based on 3. Two is an even number, and Three is an odd number; therefore algebraic equations can express this issue of octave scales.  

Chromatic Ratio Equations:  F#/Fn = R x R x Fn = R^2 x Fn = G ; E#/Fn = R^12 ; R = 1.059

[SCOD theory by Drogo, written to understand his own confusion regarding basic music theory]

‘Math and Music 1’ youtube video

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AMM ALM – ‘All Lives Matter’ Album Series

Posted in Ethics & Morals, POB Audio, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Politics, Protests / Riots, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2020 by Drogo

Skin color is surface, culture is deep.

ALM Album Related AMM (Appalatian Mountain Malitia) Music Sets –

‘ALM Black Light‘ & ‘Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives‘ & ‘No Lives Matter’

All lives matter (ALM), not only RICH lives; no matter the color. RAINBOW power. Black Lives matter (BLM) even during a ‘Trumpster Fire‘ when they are being treated like they don’t matter. All lives matter, even when they are not being respected. This AMM album series was recorded in West Virginia (under-ground) old school; and remixed as live sets during the Covid Crisis Protests, enjoy. The ALM and BLM movements are together (2016). Our current civil unrest is more about working rights for all citizens and races, which worries the 1%. No matter how you identify, here’s rainbow in your eye.

This album series is live FB DJ set recordings from AMM 2006 to 2020, past and present mix. It includes a variety of music styles and voices recorded in the Harpers Ferry, WV area (304). AMM was founded by JB CODIAK and friends. ALM Album themes range from MLK, Black Panther, to Death Rap. Besides being generally anti-racist, because members and associates can be any race combination and identify as whatever they want; AMM supports progressive politics like UBI, UHC, and zero tolerance for police aggression.

All Lives Matter‘ provocative phrase and word semantics regarding racist (human vs ethnic) perspectives:

“According to an August 2015 poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement ‘All Lives Matter’ was “closer to their own” point of view than was ‘Black Lives Matter’. Only 11% said that the statement Black Lives Matter was closer. Nine percent said that neither statement reflected their own point of view.” 

President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”

MacHatfield on ALM – “No matter how “woke” a pc person thinks they are, this phrase is not offensive to say it; it is not an “either/or” it is inclusive of all human races (the term “race” being fake or artificial). If people want to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) to talk about people who appear or identify as black, they can; but BLM has been used to imply that black lives don’t matter currently (to who?), which is racist because black lives actually do matter, despite how racist the system or individuals are; and no matter how much it makes anyone feel like black lives dont matter, many of us have always felt black lives matter (audience is critical). Black lives do matter (speaking to anyone who thinks they don’t), and the BLM phrase does point out that law enforcement and corporate society treats most blacks (who also, no coincidence to the history of slavery, are often poor) terribly; most of these ‘black’ are people who cannot afford lawyers or the cost of living. There are statistics that show those identified as “blacks” suffer more than “whites”, no matter the actual “racial” mix of the person (see social-racial identity). The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has been a large part of the Covid Protests, but dividing ourselves by race is what the rich masters always want. The issues affecting “black americans” are class, not just surface racism but systemic economic working-class injustice too; which is sustained by race wars among workers. Minorities feel the oppression by corporate bosses the worst, because they are used as ‘scab-labor’ when the majority (whites) strike. To use the terms ‘black’ or ‘white’ to describe people can be called racist, since it is a surface description that assumes stereo-types belonging to most people who appear light or dark skinned should or should not have any number of cultural attributes which make them another race, other than human. I fucking hate Nazi racists, no matter their color.”

“While the immediate spark for this moment was the brutal murder of George Floyd, his killing was not an isolated event. It is not the first time a black man has called out “I can’t breathe” as he was choked or lynched. We can draw a straight line that runs from slavery, to Jim Crow, to legal segregation, to de facto segregation, to institutional racism, to the killings of so many in recent years – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.” – MD Senator Van Hollen

Most of us can agree that skin color is superficial. White and Black cultures are actually not as black-and-white as the labels might appear. Cultures are not bound by simplistic definitions of appearance; cultures are complex and overlap as they change. And change they do, despite conservative cores, cultures constantly evolve just as species do. Cultural depth includes problems of poverty, working class racism, public and private violence, wars, family, and plutocracy etc. Racism is used as a tool for warfare against other individuals or groups who appear different, and are blamed for problems; however as a cultural tool racism mainly benefits those in power over the majority, while the masses insult and harm each-other. It is easy to use racial labels to insult people we don’t like, because we want to use anything we can to hurt them; but the more people resort to judging by appearance, the more racism becomes a problem for everyone.

Law enforcement is a class struggle, where oligarchs wage war against the lower classes legally. Racial diversity on police forces has not stopped the war on the poor. Enforcing laws more aggressively against the poor, more than enforcing laws (at least those that exist) against the bigger rich thieves, benefits those running the show. History has shown that companies will break worker unions any way they can, and scab race wars is most effective to keep wages low. General strikes are most effective for equality, when most workers are willing to refuse to work for masters.

RIP M.F. and J.J. on this album. Special thanks to Donald Greene for donating the pre-AMM archives from his personal collection.

‘All Lives Matter’set 1 on FB

‘ALM Black Light – set 2 on FB

Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives – set 3 on FB

‘No Lives Matter’  – set 4 on FB

black lives matter

Blog Editing Notes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 5, 2020 by Drogo

From WordPress Forum:

The classic editor will still be available in WP-Admin:

https://wordpress.com/support/editors/#classic-editor

If you have specific feedback regarding the block editor, you can add it here: https://wordpress.com/forums/topic/feedback-thread-for-the-block-editor/

Just a reminder that if you have more feedback or questions about Blocks, head to the Forum thread https://wordpress.com/forums/topic/feedback-thread-for-the-block-editor/. Keeping feedback all in one place will help the WordPress staff improve blocks.

The Classic Editor is still available in WP Admin.
https://wordpress.com/support/editors/#classic-editor
There is a block called ‘Classic Block’ (you can find it by searching in the insert block search bar, or under the Formatting heading) which works in the same way as the Classic Editor. You can find out more about this block here:
https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/blocks/classic-block/
If you’re having trouble using blocks, here’s a tutorial:
https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/#blocks
If you wish to try out blocks, this support post will help you bridge the gap between the classic editor and blocks:
https://wordpress.com/support/replacing-the-older-wordpress-com-editor-with-the-wordpress-block-editor/

Lord George Byron – Poet

Posted in Biographies, Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2020 by Drogo

lord byron turbin

George Gordon Byron was born in London, England to nobility. He lived from 1788 to 1824, and was a radical flamboyant and notorious liberal leader in world literature and politics during the early Romantic Movement and Historic Revival period. The first ten years of his life were spent with his mother in Scotland. Byron’s father had abandoned his family and died when young George Byron was only three years old. When young Byron was ten, his great-uncle died leaving George with the family title of ‘Lord’ Byron. Young Lord Byron returned to England, where he attended the Harrow School, and eventually Cambridge University.

In 1807 Lord Byron published his first book of poems, ‘Hours of Idleness’; which was severely criticized by the Edinburgh Review (a Scottish literary magazine). ‘Hour of Idleness’ was primarily a collection of educated romantic proses expected of young contemporary poets; but Byron was clearly more rebellious. Byron responded to his critics, using satirical witty and biting style in his ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’, where he attacked almost every notable literary author and critic. Byron wrote the first two cantos (sections) of ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ as fiction, using Edmund Spenser’s literary style. Soon Byron’s work mainly reflected his own experiences and early gothic revival sentiments.

From 1809 to 1811, Lord George Byron traveled through southern Europe and parts of the Near East. In 1815 Byron married Anne Isabella Milbanke. Their brief, turbulent, and unhappy marriage ended the same year; partly due to rumors of George’s incest with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and all the public gossip about his many former affairs as well. Byron departed from England forever in 1816, and moved to Switzerland and Italy. 

At the Villa Diodati in Switzerland 1816, Byron hosted his most historic party. For three rainy summer days and stormy nights, five friends became ghostly writers. The writers were Byron, his personal physician John Polidori, famous poet Percy Shelley, Mary Godwin (Percy’s future wife), and her step-sister Claire Clairmont with whom Byron already had a daughter. The five read gothic stories (including Fantasmagoriana), and wrote their own. Percy Shelley wrote ‘A Fragment of a Ghost Story’ and five ghost stories recounted by Matthew “Monk” Lewis. Mary Shelley wrote what would become ‘Frankenstein’, and Byron wrote ‘A Fragment’, on which Polidori based ‘The Vampyre’ (decades before Bram Stoker’s 1897 ‘Dracula’). That same month Byron visited Chillon Castle with Percy Shelley. ‘Prisoner of Chillon’ (1816) was Byron’s gothic classic, full of haunting morbidity.

Then Byron visited Venice, where he acquainted himself with Armenian culture aided by monks. He also carried on a long romance with the Countess Teresa Guiccioli. ‘Manfred’ (1817) dramatizes independence, and the nature of intellectual integrity for personal responsibility. ‘Cain’ (1821) is similar to Manfred, challenging divine will as people interpret it in their own ideas of right and wrong. ‘Don Juan’ (1820) might be his most famous poem. It is a satirical master-piece written in a colloquial, brilliant, and flexible style. It makes an epic hero of a legendary lover, who has epic comic moments. Most importantly Byron tells his story with shifting emotional tone; expressing anger at deceptions and cruelty, sadness over loss, and hope despite incarceration. Lord Byron became involved in revolutionary politics in Italy.

In 1823 Byron (like many others) decided to join the Greeks in their war for independence from the Turks. On April 19th of 1824, after a brief but fatal fever sickness, Lord Byron died without witnessing the success of the Greek revolution. As a romantic revivalist, Lord Byron clearly set the stage for later liberal arts leaders like Poe, Morris, Ruskin, Romantic painters, and other Victorians.

*

THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

My hair is grey, but not with years,

Nor grew it white ⁠⁠In a single night,

As men’s have grown from sudden fears:

My limbs are bowed, though not with toil,

⁠But rusted with a vile repose,

For they have been a dungeon’s spoil,

⁠And mine has been the fate of those

To whom the goodly earth and air

Are banned, and barred—forbidden fare;⁠

But this was for my father’s faith

I suffered chains and courted death;

That father perished at the stake

For tenets he would not forsake;

And for the same his lineal race

In darkness found a dwelling place;

We were seven—who now are one,

⁠Six in youth, and one in age,

Finished as they had begun,

⁠Proud of Persecution’s rage;

One in fire, and two in field,

Their belief with blood have sealed,

Dying as their father died,

For the God their foes denied;—

Three were in a dungeon cast,

Of whom this wreck is left the last.

Covid Crisis Protests & Solutions

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, jobs, Military, news, Protests / Riots, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2020 by Drogo

During the Covid Crisis and 2nd Great Depression a series of protests began against government oppression, the largest being ‘Black Lives Matter‘ protests across the USA. The climax of the protests was sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, a poor black citizen of Minneapolis, Minnesota who was non-violent with covid. As protests and riots grew, more cops and the National Guard increased violence to impose martial law in many places; but in a few cities there was a more enlightened civilized response.

My own reflections on the current “all lives matter” protests: in Savannah Georgia authorities allowed us to protest in the streets for Critical Mass biking multiple times. ‘Black Lives Matters’ might be more angry, but they were mostly unarmed and probably would have just marched and got bored if there were no cops acting like bullies in direct opposition to civil rights. Military grade guns and industrial standard-issue projectile weapons shows that only cop’s lives matter because they are the law on behalf of the owner upper-class. If cops were trained to approach as peaceful friends to citizens, it would automatically begin to diffuse, but oligarchs dont want that. Protesters should get smarter and take over government, not play tag with cops. Our rich owners want us fighting each other so they can keep getting richer. 

Boston Tea Party: What did the tea company have to do with the English government? It meant something to our founding fathers as a symbol at least, right or wrong. It was probably wrong that they dressed as tribal natives to blame it on them. Was it wrong to destroy private company property and terrorize loyal citizens just to rebel against the English government? We are taught that those illegal seditious violent actions of the Revolution were legitimate. 

Recently in modern history our national defense budget has increased for covert government agents to infiltrate protests; to sabotage, break windows, and do violence to turn them into riots so there can be conflict and excuses for those with more weapons to crack down as authorities. Police refer to these set-up under-cover actions as “stings”, when they pose as criminals to create crimes and include others or get them to commit the crimes which may not have happened without their budget, false sincerity, and dedication to provocation. Leaders of protest movements usually use non-violent means only, to get goals met; but videos show escalation by the crowds by agents with no goal except to express rage and provoke cops, which makes no sense from the position of the mostly unarmed AND unarmored crowds. Government agents tend to dress in black or tan in the videos, and can be seen acting violently to implicate the mostly peaceful mass of protests; by pushing mobs into police walls and destroying property.

In martinsburg wv there was a violent clash of heavily armed militarized cops against angry unarmed citizens who marched towards them. I’m curious who in the crowd thought that marching towards the police line would do anything but cause a conflict? from a stand point of saving black lives, it made no sense; only if they sang kumbaya or lullabies would it have made a difference with cops trained to be bullies and always escalate when disobeyed.

Cop violence against lower-class citizens and citizen property is worse than property violence against cops, annually. More cops are getting shot by metal bullets than protesters maybe, but more citizens (not just during protests) are being shot and hurt and killed by cops, than cops being hurt overall. Good job Frederick and Germantown cops who are with the citizen covid protests! The cops marching with the protesters and guarding the buildings and vehicles during parades is clearly the answer; not blocking and attacking angry protesters as potential rioters. We are in the 2nd Great Depression, and the way out needs to be better democracy, not martial law. Our military (both active, reserve, and guard) should be used less on civilians (both foreign and domestic), and police should be less militarized and more civil. 

Kyle Kulinski, Krystal Ball, Kim Iverson, and others have suggested great responses for better solutions. Their solutions support civil rights leaders like Sanders, West, Yang, and others; because we need UBI (universal basic income), jobs programs, less lower class taxes, and UHC (universal health care). “We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.” – Campaign Zero

2020 covid riot

 

 

 

 

John Greenleaf Whittier

Posted in Biographies, Book Reports, Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2020 by Drogo

John Greenleaf Whittier was a famous American poet, statesman, abolitionist, and naturalist. John was a distant cousin to my great-grandmother, Bertha Whittier Stowell. His best known poems fall into two main types: those attacking slavery (abolitionist), and those praising the charms of New England country life (naturalist).

Often called ‘the Quaker poet’, John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His parents were Quaker farmers. Whittier’s poetry shows the influence of his Quaker religion, and rural New England background. One major influence upon his style, was the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Like Burns, Whittier wrote many ballads on rural themes; but Whittier’s wit was not as bitterly sharp as Burns.

John G. Whittier was an active abolitionist in politics, especially from 1833 to 1863. As part of the anti-slavery movement, he called for the abolition of slavery in newspaper articles; not just in his poetry. Whittier did all this, while serving in the Massachusetts legislature in 1835. The abolitionist cause dominated his poetry. In ‘The Moral Warfare’ (1838) and ‘Massachusetts To Virginia’ (1843), John Whittier bombarded the injustices of slavery in society. He also condemned what he viewed as the national hypocrisy; the problem of being founded on the ideals of freedom, yet allowing slavery.

John Greenleaf Whittier criticizes Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, in his political poem ‘Ichabod’ (1850). Senator Webster (who is also a distant relative of mine) took part in the ‘Compromise of 1850’, in which run-away slaves had to be returned to their owners, no questions asked. Whittier used a restrained, dignified tone that makes ‘Ichabod’ less an offensive attack on Webster, than an expression of sympathy for his idiotic mistake.

There are three ballads in which Whittier shows his interest in the customs, legends, rural settings, and the people of New England. The earlier two are called ‘Skipper Ireson’s Ride’ (1857) and ‘Telling The Bees’ (1858). The third was his later master-piece named ‘Snow-Bound’ (1866). ‘Snow-Bound’ tells of a family marooned in their farm-house during a giant blizzard. It was his affectionate lengthy descriptions of Quaker life, combined with a rhyming prose style, that made his verses easy to follow and popular; like a classic fire-side tale being spun. In his poem, Whittier’s delicate organization and brilliant lyrical verbosity, transcends the confines of a page. ‘Snow-bound’ toys with the merry whims and remembrances of anyone who has ever spent a snowy winter in New England and survived; even long after it was written.

Audio Recording of this article

*

Barbara Frietchie

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple- and peach-tree fruited deep,
Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,—
Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,
Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;
In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.
Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.
“Halt!”— the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
“Fire!”— out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;
She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word:
“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.
All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet:
All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.
Barbara Frietchie’s work is o’er,
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.
Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall’s bier.
Over Barbara Frietchie’s grave
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!
Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;
And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!
*
  • more to be added later 

 

Old Saint Peter’s Basilica

Posted in Historic Architecture, Pub Library, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2020 by Drogo

The greatest case of Christian architectural evolution is the Constantinian Christian basilica of St. Peter in Rome, Italy. Roman Emperor Constantine had the original St. Peter’s Basilica built (320-360 AD) on the site of Nero’s Circus, to honor the tomb of St. Peter, respect other Christian martyrs, and honor Christianity as the new Roman religion. The adjective ‘old’ was only added after it was demolished in the Renaissance, to distinguish the current from the former building. Pagan Romans used basilicas as public meeting halls, and the architectural form began to change as Christians used it. Although St. Peter’s is still called a basilica (Pagan), it is a large church or cathedral (Christian). The Catholic Church reserves the word ‘cathedral’ for large churches held by bishops, but architecturally for the masses there is no distinction between a cathedral and a basilica. Papal (pope) coronations were held at the basilica, and in 800 AD Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ there. Soon after in 846 Saracens sacked and damaged the tombs and treasures.

Old St. Peter’s set an example for related cathedrals and thousands of smaller churches, which followed for hundreds of years and still continues today world-wide. It was a synthesis of assembly hall, temple, and villa. Old St. Peter’s held 4,000 worshipers inside, and thousands more outside in the atrium (akin to St. Peter’s Plaza today). The atrium was added later and had 5 doors (portas) in the gable wall leading into the nave. The atrium was called the “Garden of Paradise” during the Dark Ages. As a large colonnade courtyard plaza, the atrium served to filter  and shelter entry into the interior nave arcade. Atriums or plaza squares are similar to typical Roman villa interior courtyards with fountains or sculpture in the center; in this case a bronze pine-cone fountain and Vatican obelisk. The transition from narthex to nave matches the Roman traditional private upper-class family household altar or chapel and open atrium relationship. Early Christian domestic architecture linked worship with privacy not only because Christianity was illegal, but also because it was conventional to have religious (Pagan ancestor) shrines in homes. Pilgrims approached the atrium portico typically by the eastern stairs.

Old St. Peter’s exterior was fairly plain, and resembled what we would consider a large stucco-masonry barn, rather than a classical temple. This lack of architectural adornment reflected the decline of the Roman Empire and the simplicity of early Christianity, which would continue into the Dark Age that followed. Ironically the new St. Peter’s basilica was the first time the facade had classical pilasters, as the Renaissance revived the Pagan styles. Old St. Peter’s long nave main aisle was flanked symmetrically by four side aisles, and lit by clerestory windows. A great arch framed the entry view of the altar and vaulted apse beyond at the western end. The apse and altar combination with nave procession comes from a long line of imperial Pagan temples (Egyptian Hatshepsut Temple 1480 BC to Roman Leptis Magna Basilica 210 AD). The 100 marble columns were spolia taken from earlier pagan buildings. Old St. Peter’s was over 350 feet long, with a colored marbled transept making a T-shaped Latin cross. The gabled roof with wooden beams was 100 feet high along the ridge peak, and despite fires and thin walls lacking buttresses it lasted for over a thousand years. Old St. Peter’s design was like St. John Lateran’s Arch-basilica Cathedral, built around the same time in Rome. The Renaissance reconstructed basilica was designed by architects: Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Sangallo, and Maderno. The new St. Peter’s is larger, and contains some relics of the old structure.

The nave arch had a mosaic of ‘Constantine and St. Peter’, presenting a model of the church to Christ. On the walls between windows were frescoes of Bible themes. Ghiberti and Vasari wrote that Giotto painted five frescoes which were “either destroyed or carried away from the old structure of St. Peter’s during the building of the new walls.” Some medieval relics survived reconstruction. From some descriptions and fragments, the Navicella atrium mosaic (1310) was recreated. It occupied the whole wall above the entrance arcade facing the courtyard. Matthew’s scripture (14:24) was the basis for the large medieval mosaic by Giotto. “After Peter came down out of the ship and walked on the water, he became afraid of the storm and began to sink. He called out to Jesus for help. Jesus caught him and reproved him for his lack of faith, and led him back to the ship, whereupon the storm stopped.” A standing Madonna and fragment of an Epiphany mosaic (circa 700) also survived; but many gold items, like Constantine’s Cross on the Tomb of St. Peter, were lost long ago.

Old St. Peter’s architecture is confirmed by archeology, historical written accounts, and archival drawings. The oldest depictions we have are from 4th century frescoes and 16th century architects before demolition and reconstruction. Excavations confirmed some of the writings and renderings. One of the written sources ‘Liber Pontificalis’ mentions the rumor that Constantine was urged by Bishop Silvester to build the basilica on the site of St. Peter’s grave, and make his coffin with layers of solid bronze with spiral ‘Solomonic’ columns. Its’ construction involved removing or relocating tombs and constructing an enormous foundation on an expanded hillside level-cut.

The turmoil in Rome from conversion to fall (300-500 AD) begins with the 2 main christian basilicas being built to try to appease the oppressed masses of protesters all over the empire who sympathized with the infamous Christian martyrs. It is easier to study the architectural language changes, because the politics was very culturally complex and hard to translate, other than to say it is always about power. Despite the old Roman Pagan authority being replaced from within by Christian Imperial authority, the city was sacked by Christian barbarian mercenaries and migrants (Visigoths and Vandals) for centuries (600-100). Finally even the basilicas were not safe against the last of the barbarians (Saxons, Vikings, and Saracens), until the Roman Church authority was supreme enough across European kingdoms to focus violence against the Eastern Empire and Jerusalem (again) with the Crusades (1100-1300). [dates circa nearest hundred]

 

Plan_of_Circus_Neronis_and_St._Peters1590-Alfarano_plan

SCOD Urban Architecture Notes

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Historic Architecture, Languages, Politics, Pub Library, Recommendations & Tributes, SCOD Online School, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2020 by Drogo

American architecture has ‘plurality and duality’. We have a variety of expression with scales of space and attitude, for the rich and poor. We have a modern design duality of rectilinear and organic architecture. Rectilinear modernists have been influenced by: Gropius, Loos, Corbu, Mies, Meier, Kahn, and Johnson. Organic modernist heroes are fewer, and there are fewer of us: Wright, Moss, Gehry, Solari, and Predock.

New Urbanist sprawl still faces the problems of commercialism vs community. Their planning principles have helped us to have more mixed-use zoning, but we still have the problems of Capitalism in decline, with an expanding lower class, destroyed middle class, and imperial upper class. New developments in Maryland and West Virginia seem to ignore the problems of population debt infrastructure, ecological devastation, agricultural decline, and transportation congestion all for the sake of profit.

Moynihan said our cities were ‘soulless’, like Diogenes he was holding a lamp for architectural self-examination. Cities are not as safe as we would like, and we should always remember their epitaphs are too often ‘military target’. Violence and migration are the main problems of our ‘urbane’ urban design. We have so often been wrong in our problem solving, it is clear we need to learn more from our past patterns of tradition. The corruption in politics that creates bad planning, can only be countered by an aware and active population willing to conspire and protest more than the elites can bribe, to bring attention to values which cannot be bought. 

‘A Pattern Language’ by Chris Alexander explains how architecture is about relationships. There are many cultural associations and historical traditions that can be better than soulless sterile machines for living. Architecture is sculpture for living, and we should not ignore sociology and heritage for the sake of industrial convenience to serve a consumer society that is destroying our global environment for profit. Yes we should have standards for structures that are able to shelter us without collapsing, but sustainability must also include the arts and nature.

 

References:

American House Now‘ by Doubilet & Boles

Better Places‘ Chapter in ‘Geography of NoWhere’

‘Pattern Language’ Relationships by Chris Alexander

New Urbanism, Second Generation‘ by Beth Dunlap

The Soulless City‘ by Moynihan