Dan Watson

Do we understand each other?

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Breaking Bad episode 401, “Box Cutter,” in five shots
– – –


Written by Dan

July 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Posted in TV

I know almost nothing about these important matters and care even less.

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Was it really Hell or did Cummings just want to be Dante? Both, I guess. And while I liked the Enormous Room, better Dante than John Bunyan, most definitely.

May 12

Why do you wish to go to Russia?
because I’ve never been there.
(He slumps,recovers). You are interested in economic and sociological problems?
Perhaps you are aware that there has been a change of government in recent years?
yes(I say without being able to suppress a smile).
And your sympathies are not with socialism?
may I be perfectly frank?
I know almost nothing about these important matters and care even less.
(His eyes appreciate my answer). For what do you care?
my work.
Which is writing?
and painting.
What kind of writing?
chiefly verse;some prose.
Then you wish to go to Russia as a writer and painter? Is that it?
no;I wish to go as myself.

A singularly unbanklike bank:outside,mildly imposing mansion; inside,hugely promiscuous hideousness—not the impeccable sanitary ordered and efficient hideousness of American or imitation-American banks,but a strictly ubiquitous whenwhere of casual filth and aimless commotion and profound hoping inefficiency.

But I always feel that we haven’t any right to criticise:the point is,you are now in a workers’ republic which is bound to make mistakes like anything else;but the mistakes are being rectified as quickly as possible—and after all,the ideal is what counts,isn’t it!” “I shouldn’t wonder if life is what—”(plucking him from a careening upholsteryless Daimler)”counts”(and shoving him past a leaping recent Ford)”—was that a taxicab?” I ask. “Thank you,I didn’t see the Jehu: yes,that was a taxicab,and we’re going to have a great many of them soon. My dear fellow,let me beg you most earnestly not to make the ridiculous mistake of judging by appearances;the thing to realize is,that here people run themselves:they are truly—for the first time in human history—free . . . now where am I going:yes.

Written by Dan

May 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Literature

In Soviet Russia, Cummings reads you!

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The trip happened 80 years ago. I’m four days behind to the day. Let’s get it rolling, I suppose.

Day 2: May 11, 1931

Windmills! Reeling up–&-over-behind villages or standing soishly among sunful skies. An everywhere of fields,spattered with animals,pricked with beings. Big holes of air & crude blocks of land(I can almost smell this world). When the savage beings wear colours,the colours are hard red and tight blue. The gruesome faces of the tiny beings come at me immediately, genuinely,through Shutness. And(look)pinetrees are,whose here Thelike together creates an Aful leaning;and(there)specks(and look)browse all forming one direction. Rhythm:organic Is–neither fillable nor emptyable;actually(how clumsily)alive.

Written by Dan

May 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Literature

1965, Part 2

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Continued from my timeline of the first half of 1965, from the Collier’s Yearbook:

7/7/65 – The Delaware River Basin commission declared a 30-day water emergency for New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

7/11/65 – Two opposing groups of about 500 shouting white segregationists and about 600 quiet Negro and white civil rights demonstrators, guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police and state troopers, held separate protest marches through downtown Bogalusa [Louisiana]; the civil rights group was protesting discrimination against Negroes in jobs and public facilities.

7/13/65 – President Johnson announced his nomination of federal judge Thurgood Marshall, former chief legal adviser of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as U.S. solicitor general.

7/14/65 – Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Representative at the UN, former governor of Illinois, and twice Democratic candidate for president, collapsed and died in London at 65.

7/15/65 – By means of radio signals, the United States’ Mariner 4 transmitted to earth the first close-up picture of Mars; the spacecraft had been launched on Nov. 28, 1964.

7/17/65 – The official Chinese Communist press agency, Hsinhua, reported that Peking had agreed to provide economic and technical assistance to North Vietnam.

7/22/65 – A U.S. government report warned that without immediate action two main reservoirs supplying New York City would dry up by November 1965 and six others would be badly depleted.

7/28/65 – After an eight-day review of Vietnam with top political and military advisers, President Johnson announced that the number of U.S. military men in South Vietnam would be increased and the draft rate doubled.

7/30/65 – At Independence, Mo., President Johnson signed the Medicare-Social Security bill in a ceremony honoring Harry Truman, the first president to propose federal health insurance under Social Security.

8/7/65 – In the first application of the new Voting Rights Act, signed into law on August 6, literacy tests as a voting prerequisite were suspended in seven states and a total of 27 counties in North Carolina and Arizona.

8/10/65 – Authorized by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal registrars were on hand for the first time since the Reconstruction era to supervise heavy voting registration of Negroes in nine counties and parishes in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

8/11/65 – At an emergency White House conference with governors and other high officials from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, President Johnson promised more federal aid to meet the water crisis in the Northeast.  By a vote of 57 to 33, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to create a Department of Housing and Urban Development that would consolidate all federal housing and urban development programs and elevate the secretary of the department to Cabinet status.

8/13/65 – On the third day of sporadic looting, burning, and shooting by bands of Negroes in the Watts district in Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 national guardsmen armed with rifles and bayonets were ordered into the city to help local law enforcement officers quell the riots, which were sparked by a drunken-driving arrest on August 11.

8/16/65 – Relative calm descended upon the Negro district of Watts in southwest Los Angeles after six days of rioting, during which 34 persons were killed, 1,032 injured, 3,952 arrested, and an estimated $40 million in damages incurred.

8/22/65 – In Springfield, Mass., national guardsmen, state policemen, and all 360 city policemen were on hand as about 900 Negro and white civil rights demonstrators peaceably marched to Court Square in protest against Negroes during an arrest on July 17.

8/25/65 – President Johnson ordered the Defense Department to begin immediate construction of a $1.5 billion two-man orbiting laboratory to determine potential military uses of space.

8/26/65 – President Johnson announced that starting August 27 childless married men between the ages of 19 and 26 would be as eligible for the draft as single men.

9/2/65 – By a vote of 79-3, the U.S. Senate passed a $4.7 billion higher education bill providing federal grants for needy college students.

9/6/65 – More than 15 years of sporadic fighting between Pakistan and India over the border state of Kashmir erupted into de facto war when Indian troops invaded Pakistan.

9/11/65 – In “Mysterium Fidei,” the third encyclical of his pontificate, Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the traditional orthodox Roman Catholic interpretation of the Holy Eucharist, according to which the body and blood of Christ are actually as well as symbolically present in the consecrated blood and wine.

9/16/65 – Automation, union jurisdiction, and pension and severance benefits were the main issues in a strike called by the New York Newspaper Guild against the New York “Times,” affecting 17,000 news and craft employees of six metropolitan dailies.

9/22/65 – By a vote of 76-18, the U.S. Senate voted to replace the 41-year-old quote immigration law with a system of overall eastern and western hemisphere limits divided among preferred categories of immigrants without regard to nationality, effective July 1, 1968.

9/30/65 – An all-white jury in Hayneville, Ala., acquitted 52-year-old Tom Coleman, a state highway engineer and part-time deputy sheriff, of the charge of first-degree manslaughter in the August 20 shotgun slaying of 26-year-old civil rights worker Jonathan Daniels, a white Episcopal seminary student from Keene, N.H.

10/4/65 – More than 1.2 million people witnessed the historic 14-hour New York visit of Pope Paul VI that included a meeting with President Johnson, an appearance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the celebration of a low mass at Yankee Stadium, and an address at the UN in which the pontiff urged, “No more war, war never again.”

10/8/65 – Within six hours after the settlement of the New York newspaper strike begun on September 16, three of the six metropolitan dailies involved in the shutdown announced the resumption of publication.

10/14/65 – The U.S. Defense Department announced that it had established a draft quota of 45,224 men for December, the largest call-up since the Korean War.

10/15/65 – With an attendance record of 51 million, the highest in the history of international expositions, the New York World’s Fair closed.

10/19/65 – Robert M. Shelton, 36-year-old imperial wizard of the largest Ku Klux Klan organization in the U.S., refused to answer questions put to him by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the first hearing on the 100-year-old racist organization.

10/22/65 – An all-white jury in Hayneville, Ala., found 22-year-old Ku Klux Klansman Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr., not guilty in his second trial for the murder of Detroit civil rights worker Mrs. Viola Gregg Liuzzo.

10/28/65 – Before an assemblage of 2,300 prelates in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Paul VI formally promulgated as church teaching five documents embodying significant changes in Roman Catholic policies and structures and enjoining all Catholics against holding the Jews collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Christ.

10/31/65 – Daniel Burros, 28-year-old Jewish-born Ku Klux Klan leader of New York, fatally shot himself with a revolver after the secret of his Jewish origin had been disclosed in a New York “Times” newspaper article on October 30.

11/2/65 – John Lindsay, running on a Republican-Liberal ticket, was elected mayor of New York City, defeating Democratic opponent Abraham Beame by a plurality of 136,144 votes.  Norman R. Morrison, a 32-year-old father of three children and an official of the Friends meeting in Baltimore, Md., burned himself to death in front of the Pentagon in protest against U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

11/9/65 – More than 30 million inhabitants of New York State, New England, parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Canada’s Ontario province found themselves in darkness when a massive power failure that lasted up to 13 1/2 hours in some areas struck 80,000 square miles of the Northeast at 5:27 P.M. Business losses during the blackout were estimated at $100 million.

11/20/65 – In New York City, the chancellor and the academic dean of City University, as well as the presidents of Brooklyn and Hunter colleges, announced that they were resigning their posts because of a dispute with the Board of Higher Education over advocating the imposition of a $400 annual tuition charge on the traditionally tuition-free city college system.

11/29/65 – After a 30-hour visit to South Vietnam, U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara said that the U.S. had stopped losing the war, but that the inescapable conclusion was that it would be a long one.

12/2/65 – An all-white jury in Anniston, Ala., sentenced Hubert Damon Strange, a white 23-year-old service station attendant, to 10 years in prison for the night-rider slaying of a Negro foundry worker.

12/3/65 – An all-white federal jury in Montgomery, Ala., convicted three Ku Klux Klan members of conspiracy charges stemming from the slaying of Detroit civil rights worker Mrs. Viola Liuzzo and sentenced them to from 3 to 10 years in prison.

12/8/65 – More than 100,000 spectators and 2,400 church prelates gathered in the sunny square outside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to hear Pope Paul VI deliver his message of farewell at the closing of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, which began in 1962.

12/10/65 – An all-white jury in Selma, Ala., acquitted three white businessmen of charges of murdering the Rev. James J. Reeb of Boston after a civil rights demonstration in March.

12/15/65 – Traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour about 180 miles above the Pacific, spacecrafts Gemini 6, manned by Capt. Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Maj. Thomas P. Stafford, and Gemini 7, manned by Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Comdr. James A. Lovell, Jr., passed within a few feet of each other and made a 4-hour formation flight in a historic rendezvous that paved the way for a moon landing.

12/23/65 – In a Christmas message addressed to “all men on earth,” Pope Paul VI appealed for world peace and condemned wars brought about by “underhanded schemes and contrived disorder.”

12/31/65 – Confronted with a threatened strike by the Transit Workers Union on his first day in office, John Vliet Lindsay, 44, was sworn in as the 89th mayor of New York City.

Written by Dan

September 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

Posted in History

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9/25 Update

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I’m here to report that the blog is not dead. The football season has begun. I’ve almost finished Vol. 2 of Marcel Proust and after that I only have 2200 pages to go. Mad Men has 4 weeks remaining in one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen. I have a post in the works about J.D. Salinger’s seldom-read bizarre story “Hapworth 16, 1924.” I have another post giving us the Collier’s Yearbook scoop on the second half of 1965 (it’s scheduled to publish in five days). But in the midst of this I actually got a legitimate job, albeit just an internship (for now). This job required me to move across three time zones, which was fun.

Now I’m in Seattle. And I work for Grist.org. There are also some posts on that site in the pipeline for me. I haven’t decided whether I want to go back and write about the Mad Men eps I missed, or just skip them and try to say something about the remaining episodes of the season in a timely manner.

Written by Dan

September 25, 2010 at 6:54 am

Posted in Misc.


with one comment

It appears that my post on 1964 was popular, so let’s dig into the Collier’s Yearbook again, and as Joan would say, “Gentlemen, shall we begin 1965?”

1/4/65 – Speaking before a joint session of the 89th Congress nine hours after the opening of its first session, President Johnson gave his State of the Union message, in which he outlined the building of the “Great Society.”  T. S. Eliot, 76, American-born British poet and critic who won the 1948 Nobel Prize in literature, died in London.

1/11/65 – Emerson Foote, head of the National Interagency on Smoking and Health, predicted that 125,000 Americans would die in 1965 from the effects of cigarette smoking, despite the drop in per capita rate of consumption.

1/15/65 – A federal grand jury indicted 18 persons in connection with the June 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers in Mississippi; all but one had previously been arrested–and then released–in the same case.

1/20/65 – Thousands of spectators gathered at the Capitol in near-freezing temperatures to watch Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in for his first full term as president and to hear his Inaugural Address, with its theme of justice, liberty, and unity.

1/24/65 – Sir Winston Churchill, 90, Britain’s World War II prime minister, died following a stroke.

1/26/65 – Iran’s Premier Hassan Ali Mansour, 41, died as a result of two shots fired by an assassin on January 21.

2/3/65 – The arrest of over 1,000 Negro schoolchildren in Selma, Ala., and in the nearby town of Marion brought to over 2,600 the number of arrests in the Selma area since the start of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent Negro voter registration drive in Dallas County.

2/6/65 – In Atlanta, Ga., segregationist Lester G. Maddox ended months of litigation by reluctantly agreeing to comply with a federal court order to admit Negroes to his cafeteria.

2/10/65 – In Selma, Ala., sheriff James G. Clark and a group of deputies carrying nightsticks and electric cattle prods led 165 youthful Negro demonstrators on a 2.3-mile forced march into the Dallas County countryside.

2/19/65 – A proposed constitutional amendment providing for procedures in the event of presidential disability was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate.  Under the amendment, a vice-president who had succeeded to the presidency could nominate a new vice-president, subject to congressional confirmation.

2/21/65 – Malcolm X, 39-year-old leader of the militant Black Nationalist movement, was shot to death while addressing a rally of his followers in New York City.

3/5/65 – In Indianola, Miss., a major stronghold of segregation, a freedom school and library containing 2,000 volumes burned to the ground.

3/7/65 – More than 60 Negroes were injured when Alabama state troopers and a handful of volunteers from the Dallas County sheriff’s office, authorized by Governor George Wallace to prevent a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, broke up a Negro demonstration with nightsticks, whips, and tear gas.

3/9/65 – Following a federal court order banning a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, 1,500 Negro and white civil rights marchers, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were peaceably halted by Alabama state troopers one mile outside of Selma.  Thousands of Negroes and whites in major cities across the U.S. demonstrated to show sympathy for the twice-attempted voter registration march.

3/10/65 – President Johnson submitted to Congress a $10 million plan to establish a National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities which would provide direct federal aid to creative artists for the first time since the New Deal of the 1930’s.

3/11/65 – The Rev. James J. Reeb, 38-year-old white minister from Boston who was one of three clergymen beaten by whites in Selma, Ala., after participating in a civil rights march on March 9, died in Birmingham.

3/13/65 – In a three-hour meeting with Alabama Governor George Wallace, President Johnson warned that police brutality in Selma “must not be repeated” and urged him to assure that the right to vote and to demonstrate peacefully would be maintained.

3/15/65 – In a televised appearance before a joint evening session of Congress, President Johnson urged speedy approval of a new voting rights bill designed to remove discriminatory barriers against citizen trying to register and vote in any federal, state, or local election.  Referring to anti-Negro discrimination as a national problem, the president pledged that “we shall overcome” this “crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.”

3/17/65 – In Montgomery, Ala., a federal district judge authorized Negroes to hold a 50-mile civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, ordering Governor Wallace and other Alabama officials to refrain from “harassing or threatening” the protest marchers and to provide full police protection from hostile whites.

3/21/65 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led 3,200 Negroes and whites on the first lap of a civil rights march from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery.

3/25/65 – The 54-mile march that began on March 21 in Selma, Ala., ended at the state capitol in Montgomery, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., exhorted a jubilant crowd of 25,000 Negroes and whites to continue the struggle for racial justice.  After the march, Mrs. Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a white civil rights worker from Detroit, was shot to death on the road between Montgomery and Selma.

3/26/65 – In Birmingham, Ala., the FBI arrested four members of the Ku Klux Klan in connection with the death of Mrs. Viola Liuzzo on March 25.

3/30/65 – At President Johnson’s suggestion, the House Committee on Un-American Activities voted to conduct a full investigation on the Ku Klux Klan.

3/31/65 – In Rome, pamphlets containing Holy Week prayers revised by Pope Paul VI to eliminate degrading references to Jews and atheists were put on sale in religious bookstores.

4/2/65 – The first appointment of Negroes to three statewide committees administering federal farm programs in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Maryland was announced by Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman.  The appointments followed the disclosure by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission of widespread discrimination against Negro farmers in the administration of such federal programs, especially in certain southern states.

4/5/65 – The U.S. Supreme Court held that the right of an accused person to be confronted with the witnesses against him, as stated in the Sixth Amendment, applied to state criminal proceedings.

4/7/65 – In a nationwide broadcast, President Johnson announced U.S. readiness to participate in unconditional diplomatic talks on ending the war in Vietnam;

4/15/65 – West Germany paid Israel $75 million in cash and goods, the last annual installment of a 14-year-old $860 million reparations agreement.

4/17/65 – In Washington, D.C., more than 15,000 persons, mostly students, picketed the White House in protest against the fighting in Vietnam.

4/21/65 – U.S. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, along with other notables, officiated at the formal ceremony opening the second and final season of the New York World’s Fair.

4/27/65 – Edward R. Murrow, former chief of the United States Information Agency and world-famous radio-television broadcaster, died at the age of 57.

5/2/65 – Early Bird, the first commercial satellite over the Atlantic, became the first link in a worldwide live television system, relaying to North American and European viewers a program that included a simultaneous intercontinental performance of “Auld Lang Syne.”

5/4/65 – In the remains of an Indian settlement near Snaketown, Ariz., an expedition from the University of Arizona unearthed a remarkably modern irrigation system, built about 1,900 years ago.

5/7/65 – In Alabama the trial of Ku Klux Klansman Collie LeRoy Wilkins, Jr., for the murder of Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old white civil rights worker from Detroit, was declared a mistrial when the jury was deadlocked 10-2 for a conviction on a charge of first-degree manslaughter.

5/8/65 – The 20th anniversary of V-E Day was celebrated in elaborate military ceremonies in France and in a transatlantic televised exchange between Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in the U.S. and Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery in London via Early Bird satellite.

5/11/65 – By a vote of 49-45, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal to include in the voting rights bill an amendment banning poll taxes in state elections.

5/13/65 – West Germany and Israel announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two nations; as a result several Arab states broke off relations with West Germany.

5/20/65 – The Federal Communications Commission granted a Mississippi broadcasting company a one-year, probationary renewal of its license, ordering that it end racial discrimination in programming.

5/25/65 – In the first minute of the first round of the heavyweight championship fight in Lewiston, Me., 23-year-old Cassius Clay retained his title with a short right that knocked out challenger Sonny Liston.

5/29/65 – In a repudiation of the American Medical Association’s stand on government-aided medical care, the New York Academy of Medicine declared that health care should be “based on health need alone, not on a test of ability to pay.”

5/30/65 – Vivian Malone became the first Negro graduate of the 134-year-old University of Alabama.

6/1/65 – New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed a bill abolishing capital punishment for almost all crimes hitherto punishable by death in New York State.

6/10/65 – New York City’s thrice-elected mayor Robert Wagner announced that he would not run for a fourth term.

(Daaaamn 1965 was eventful.  I’m getting tired, so this will just be part one.  Part two can come later in the season.)

Written by Dan

August 20, 2010 at 6:08 am

Posted in History

Tagged with , ,

8/9 Links

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– I wonder why these types of stories don’t come with headlines like “Stupid person risks death”:

And starting on Aug. 11, the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah(notes) will be going through these practices without the benefit of water. Or food. Or any other kind of hydration.

During Ramadan, observing Muslims like Abdullah will fast for 30 days; eating or drinking nothing while the sun is out. Food and drink are permitted after dark and before sunrise, but during the day, there’s nada — not a tiny little sip of water, or the smallest release of Powerade’s mystic mountain blueberry. From the AP:

Even while sprinting in the heat and humidity during drills, sometimes in full pads, Abdullah is adamant about his faith. He will not allow himself so much as a cup of water until the sun sets and before it rises.

“I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah said. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.”

– It’s just an interesting conversation, with Israel at the center, but I found this exchange very notable:

MJT: So why did you move from Boston into this maelstrom?
Benjamin Kerstein:
Sometimes I wonder about that myself. I can’t give you a logical answer.
That’s okay. I like it here, too, and I agree it’s not entirely logical.
Benjamin Kerstein:
For me, it’s deeply personal. This place suits me. The way of life here suits me. The mentality suits me. The vastness of America is something I find hard to deal with. I find it very alienating. There are a lot of things I don’t like about living in America, though I’m not anti-American.
Benjamin, I have known you for years. I know you are not anti-American.
Benjamin Kerstein:
Thank you. [Laughs.] I have a deep appreciation for America. My family comes from Latvia and would have been wiped out if it were not for America. Something like 85 or 90 percent of the Jews of Latvia were killed by the Nazis. The entire Jewish culture in Latvia was destroyed. My family never would have survived without the United States as a haven.
But I feel terribly alone in the United States. I’ve always felt that it’s a cold place where I didn’t belong.
It is warmer here.
Benjamin Kerstein:
The weather is warmer, and so are the people. People also have hotter tempers. People here can be crueler than in the United States; though Americans in the Northeast—where I lived—can, in their own quiet way, be extraordinarily cruel through their silence and indifference. People in Israel are never silent, cold, or indifferent.
Life here is more on the edge. I crave being right where things are happening, on the event horizon where violent and transcendent things are occurring. I think you feel that way, too.
MJT: I do.

Written by Dan

August 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Posted in Politics, Religion

Tagged with , , ,