Author Archives: Phil Paine

Image of the month: The Palace of Purification

18-12-01 IMAGE Harris PlantThis is not the mag­nif­i­cent main build­ing of the R. C. Har­ris Water Treat­ment Plant in Toronto. It’s merely a pump­house and main­te­nance build­ing below the more famous main struc­ture which is “opu­lent with mar­ble entry­ways and vast halls filled with pools of water and fil­tra­tion equip­ment”. Yet even this struc­ture is grand, wor­thy of the self-taught genius who believed that civil engi­neer­ing was a spir­i­tual calling.

FILMSNOVEMBER 2018

(Hunt 1982) The Mys­te­ri­ous Stranger
(Honda 1957) The Mys­te­ri­ans [地球防衛軍; Chikyû Bôei­gun]
(Trelfer 2014) Dark Cor­ners Review: (175) The Mys­te­ri­ans
(Wright 2010) Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies: Ep.39 ― The Tesla Effect
(Break­ston & Crane 1959) The Manster [双頭の殺人鬼]
(Trelfer 2018) Dark Cor­ners Review: (322) The Manster
(De Felitta 1981) Dark Night of the Scare­crow
(Mor­gan 1987) Doc­tor Who: Ep.654 ― Time and the Rani, Part 1
(Mor­gan 1987) Doc­tor Who: Ep.655 ― Time and the Rani, Part 2
(May 1940) The Invis­i­ble Man Returns
(Mor­gan 1987) Doc­tor Who: Ep.656 ― Time and the Rani, Part 3
(Mor­gan 1987) Doc­tor Who: Ep.657 ― Time and the Rani, Part 4
(González 1965) The Fool Killer Read more »

First-time listening for November 2018

29928. (Richard Strauss) Mac­beth, Tone Poem after Shake­speare for Orches­tra
29929. (Seun Kuti & Egypt 80) Many Things
29930. (Infected Mush­room) Con­vert­ing Veg­e­tar­i­ans
29931. (Hilde­gard of Bin­gen) O vis aeter­ni­tatis
29932. (Hilde­gard of Bin­gen) Nuch ape­ruit nobis
29933. (Hilde­gard of Bin­gen) Quia ergo fem­ina mortem instruxit
29934. (Hilde­gard von Bin­gen) Cum pro­ces­sit fac­tura dig­iti Dei
Read more »

READINGNOVEMBER 2018

27556. (Philip José Farmer) Sail On! Sail On! [story]
27557. (Joan Collins) The Snow Queen [ill. Kathie Lay­field]
27558. (Clive Gam­ble) Archae­ol­ogy: The Basics
The Mag­a­zine of Fan­tasy [& Sci­ence Fic­tion], Vol.1, #1, Fall 1949:
. . . . 27559. (Lawrence E. Spi­vak) Intro­duc­tion [pref­ace]
. . . . 27560. (Cleve Cart­mill) Bells on His Toes [story]
. . . . 27561. (Perce­val Lan­don) Thurn­ley Abbey [story]
. . . . 27562. (Philip Mac­Don­ald) Pri­vate ― Keep Out! [story]
. . . . 27563. (Fitz-James O’Brien) The Lost Room [story]
. . . . 27564. (H. H. Holmes [= Anthony Boucher]) Review Copy [story]
. . . . 27565. (Guy Endore) Men of Iron [story]
. . . . 27566. (Stu­art Palmer) A Bride for the Devil [story]
. . . . 27567. (Oliver Onions) Rooum [story]
. . . . 27568. (Richard Sale) Perseus Had a Hel­met [story]
. . . . 27569. [2] (Winona McClin­tic) In the Days of Our Fathers [story]
27570. (Oula Seit­so­nen et al) Lithics in the Steppe Land­scape: An Off-site Spa­tial Analy­sis of
. . . . . Stone Arte­facts in the Khanuy Val­ley, Mon­go­lia [arti­cle]
27571. (Simone Man­tellini) Boris V. Andri­anov and the Archae­ol­ogy of Irri­ga­tion [arti­cle]
27572. (Lionel Cas­son) Librairies in the Ancient World
27573. (Car­men Cuenca-Garcia et al) The Soil Sci­ence & Archaeo-Geophysics Alliance
. . . . . {SAGA}: Going Beyond Prospec­tion [arti­cle]
27574. (Élise Luneau) Trans­fers and Inter­ac­tions between North and South in Cen­tral Asia
. . . . . dur­ing the Bronze Age [arti­cle]
27575. (Tame Ramya) Chal­lenges of Rural Devel­op­ment in Kurung Kumey Dis­trict of
. . . . . Arunachal Pradesh [arti­cle]
27576. (Tor­ben Bjorke Ballin) Na Clachan Aoraidh, Loch Tum­mel, Perth & Kin­ross ― The
. . . . . Staged Depo­si­tion of Quartz and other Lithics within and around a Four-poster Stone
. . . . . Cir­cle [arti­cle]
27577. (Brett L. Walker) The Con­quest of Ainu Lands ― Ecol­ogy and Cul­ture in Japan­ese
. . . . . Expan­sion 1590–1800
27577. (Siniša Maleše­vić) Glob­al­ism and Nation­al­ist Sub­jec­tiv­i­ties [arti­cle]
27578. (J. A. Mac­Gre­gor) Bunny’s First Birth­day
27579. [2] (Jean de Lafontaine) Fables [Tome I] [uniden­ti­fied edi­tion read at item #1]

Seventh Meditation on Democracy [written October 1, 2008] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


14-03-18 BLOG SEVENTH MEDITATION ON DEMOCRACYA few days ago, I was in the sub­way, and I over­heard a con­ver­sa­tion about our cur­rent national elec­tion. Two boys who, from their appear­ance, could have been no fur­ther along in school than grade nine or ten, were dis­cussing the tele­vised debates between the lead­ers of the five major polit­i­cal par­ties. What struck me, as I lis­tened in, was that the dis­cus­sion was cogent and intel­li­gent. One of the boys, who seemed the youngest, was par­tic­u­larly artic­u­late, and his opin­ions were not the sim­ple par­rot­ing of some adult he had heard, or the pur­suit of a party line. In fact, his analy­sis of the debate showed keener obser­va­tion and judg­ment than that of the pro­fes­sional com­men­ta­tors who dis­sected the debate after the broad­cast. Read more »

Image of the month: Kel Tagelmust

18-11-01A Tuareg noble of the Sahara, exactly as I remem­ber such men. They are occa­sion­ally referred to as kel tagel­must (veiled peo­ple) because of the head­gear and robe dyed with shim­mer­ing indigo. This gar­ment is fine-tuned for the Sahara’s vio­lent sand­storms, blis­ter­ing sun, wild swings in tem­per­a­ture, and is designed to con­serve pre­cious body mois­ture. Per­haps it’s the inspi­ra­tion for the “still­suit” in Frank Herbert’s Dune. The seven tribal con­fed­er­a­tions of the Tuareg always seemed to me a much more plau­si­ble model for Herbert’s sci­ence fic­tion clas­sic than the Badawi of Ara­bia, and the his­tory of the Sahara and Maghrib have episodes that par­al­lel the story of Dune.

FILMSOCTOBER 2018

(Young 1962) Dr. No
(Shel­don 1981) Lovely But Deadly
(Trelfer 2018) Dark Cor­ners Review: (321) Lovely But Deadly
(Schaffner 1965) The War Lord
(Ray­mond 1931) The Speck­led Band
(Wright 2010) Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies: Ep.38 ― In the Alto­gether
(Mann 2008) Les enquêtes de Mur­doch: Ep.1 ― D’un courant à l’autre
(Elve­bakk 2014) Bal­let Boys
(Seiler 1939) Dust Be My Des­tiny
(Waters 1994) Ser­ial Mom
(Pavlou 1986) Raw­head Rex
(Tenold 2018) Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: Raw­head Rex
(Sachs 2016) Lit­tle Men
Read more »

First-time listening for October 2018

29896. (Iner­ane) Music from Agadez
29897. (Sil­vius Leopold Weiss) Suite #1 in F for Lute
29898. (Sil­vius Leopold Weiss) Suite #2 in D for Lute
29899. (Sil­vius Leopold Weiss) Suite #3 in G Minor for Lute
29900. (Day­glo Abor­tions) Out of the Womb
29901. (Amanda Shires) To the Sun­set
29902. (Guil­laume Dufay) Ven­ite Bene­dicti
29903. (Guil­laume Dufay) Glo­rio­sus Deus
29904. (Guil­laume Dufay) Ludi­cabunt Sancti
Read more »

READINGOCTOBER 2018

27536. [2] (Ray Brad­bury) Dan­de­lion Wine
27537. (Ian Tat­ter­sall) The Acqui­si­tion of Human Unique­ness [arti­cle]
27538. (T. S. Vasulu) Genetic Struc­ture of a Tribal Pop­u­la­tion: Breed­ing Iso­la­tion among the
. . . . . Yanadis [arti­cle]
27539. (Vera South­gate) The Princess and the Frog [ill. Mar­tin Aitchi­son]
27540. (Alissa Mit­tnik et al) The Genetic Pre­his­tory of the Baltic Sea Region [arti­cle]
27541. (Sharon Abramowitz) Epi­demics {Espe­cially Ebola} [arti­cle]
27544. (Chris Buck­ley & Aure­lien Bree­den) Head of Inter­pol Dis­ap­pears, and Eyes Turn
. . . . . Toward China [arti­cle]
27545. (Ian Mor­ris) Death-Ritual and Social Struc­ture in Clas­si­cal Antiq­uity
Read more »

Second Meditation on Dictatorship [written March 1, 2008] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


14-03-18 BLOG SECOND MEDITATION ON DICTATORSHIP

The argu­ment behind this series of med­i­ta­tions is that aris­to­cratic elites, whether they are dressed up in mil­i­tary uni­forms, busi­ness suits, or the regalia of roy­alty, are iden­ti­cal in pur­pose and func­tion. Dif­fer­ences between them are triv­ial and cos­metic, not struc­tural. The term “dic­ta­tor­ship” applies equally to all places where an unelected gang of hood­lums rules over peo­ple and ter­ri­tory, what­ever their sup­posed ide­ol­ogy or what­ever style they chose to prance around in. I fur­ther con­tend that they are nei­ther morally legit­i­mate, nor “gov­ern­ment” in the sense that demo­c­ra­t­i­cally elected admin­is­tra­tions are. Dic­ta­tors are merely crim­i­nals, no dif­fer­ent from the crim­i­nals that rob con­ve­nience stores or attack women in dark­ened car parks. The only dif­fer­ence is the amount of money they steal and the num­ber of peo­ple they mur­der or maim.

Next, I have argued that rule by aris­toc­ra­cies is a con­stant dan­ger to human soci­ety in any time and any place, inde­pen­dent of a society’s level of wealth, or avail­able tech­nol­ogy. I argue that there are no nec­es­sary or pre­des­tined “stages” in the orga­ni­za­tion of human soci­ety. Morally good and ben­e­fi­cial demo­c­ra­tic social arrange­ments can be made at any time and in any place, by any group of peo­ple, large or small. Lan­guage, eth­nic­ity, loca­tion, and degree of wealth are not struc­turally rel­e­vant to demo­c­ra­tic prac­tice, and demo­c­ra­tic prac­tice does not orig­i­nate with, or “belong to” any par­tic­u­lar cul­tural group. Sim­i­larly, dic­ta­tor­ship can occur in any human group. Immoral, dis­eased soci­eties can be made at any time, in any place, by any group of peo­ple, large or small. Both pos­si­bil­i­ties always co-exist.

Read more »