Tag Archives: links

Features Of this Blog: Part One, the Glossary

I want to take today’s post to comment on and improve the accessibility of some of the features of this blog. I am not sure how logical that is as this post will be buried in posts more quickly than the features themselves but here we go. I will start my little tour:

I have a glossary which is important to the  subjects discussed in this blog. I have the first page linked  earlier and also three more pages . This glossary will define many terms and proper nouns which would not be familiar to most readers.

While the  glossary is only four blog pages it is as long as a booklet if printed out.  The formatting on this post is not the formatting used in the glossary. It differs in that I have used the quotes feature to expand the margins and thus lengthen the column. But otherwise this is directly lifted from the glossary. I hope to use two of the definitions as examples of what you might find there:

Zouaves  Here this almost always will refer to the Louisiana Zouaves of the War Between the States although the French Zouaves do enter a bit into the historical interests of this blog as well.  Zoavisme was a movement brought to Louisiana from France by an odd hybrid of military drill instructors and actors who toured Anglophone, Acadian and Creole regions of the State before the war. Yankee or Union Zouaves played a role in that great struggle and there were a significant number of of other Confederate Zouave units. But the Louisiana units are the most famous even in a history which often ignores Louisiana and are often called Louisiana Tigers by a variety of people . Unlike most Federal Zouave units, most Confederate Zouaves were not autonomous “regiments”: Louisiana followed this trend  or started it and these men  were often companies within larger units. The cognomen “Louisiana Tiger” is a venerable term  which dates from the Mexican War although Acadian fighters were sometimes known as gamecocks, crocodiles, alligators, Les Loups, and other animals Louisiana’s fighting animal was mostly the Tiger  and  the term refers to any Louisiana state trooper LSU athletic teams but all this has little to do with Zouaves. None of the Mexican War Louisiana “Tigers” were Zouaves for example.  The earliest, and most famous Louisiana Zouave unit was Confederate officer  White’s Company B (the “Tiger Rifles”) of Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat’s First Special Battalion, Louisiana Volunteers, aka “Louisiana Tigers”.

This can be confusing because Lee’s Tigers is a term correctly applied to all Louisiana soldiers that served in the Army of Northern Virginia. These are not to be confused with the Louisiana Zouaves  who were the “Louisiana Tigers” or “Coppen’s Zouaves.” These names have been confused with “Louisiana Tigers at Gettysburg.” Coppen’s Zouaves were at Gettysburg, but they were not then known as “Louisiana Tigers” in any way related to the unit although they may have been called Tigers in a broader sense.  Captain White’s Company B, “Louisiana Tigers”, of Major Wheats’s First Special Battalion, were not at Gettysburg, having been disbanded after Wheat’s death at Gaines Mill in 1862. There are two other Zouave units of company size for which I have little documentation but believe existed for a small part of the war.

This one comes at the end of the alphabet and has its limitations and challenges that are unique to the word and its history. Here is another example from elsewhere in the glossary, in this case I have three definitions that fall in order here:

Post, here means Lauren C. Post This is the writer of an important little book on the edge of serious scholarship called Cajun Sketches. It has photographs and writings about the Acadian people of Louisiana.

 Pontalba, Madame Celestin Pontalba, Baronesse Micaela Almonester de Pontalba was the wealthy investor and patroness of architecture who helped her  architect to redesign the decaying Place de Armes in New Orleans into Jackson Square in the center of the old city and French Quarter. She was the successor to charitable, commercial and public building projects organized by her Almonester ancestors.  By the time she built The Pontalbas (as the whole project is known) she was bo longer the rather beautiful woman she had been she had one lung, a rotting finger and little left of the others on one hand and one of her breast was mostly a prosthesis. She also had metal fragments left in her chest. All these physical ailments came from being shot by her father-in-law the Baron Pontalba. While she and her husband later Celestin Barone De Pontalba seem to have ended life both separated and in love their marriage is a rather horrid tale of conflicts between the greater property rights enjoyed by women in Louisiana and the lesser (almost nonexistent ) rights of women to property among the European Nobility — in this case Napoleonic Imperial French Nobility. In the state she is rumored to have had an affair with Andrew Jackson for whom she named the Square. Except for naming the Square for him, them both being alive at the same time and capable of consideration in such matters and   her being rather independent and a Louisianian all things seem to be against this. All time lines seem wrong to me. Who knows what is possible but it does not seem possible they were together in the right ways and times.

Prince Camille de Polignac This man was a French Prince and Confederate General who fought in Acadiana during the War Between the States. Since that time Liaison a la Maison de Polignac has been an office in the Maison de le Roialso seated in the Tout et Rien. This person is supposed to a De Polignac.

I am always correcting some typefaces, improving spelling and getting translations more accurate. There are no footnotes and I do check websites of place I have worked, Wikipedia and my own files regularly without being perfectly professional in the use of those sources. For these and many other reasons I call this a Glossary of Terms Casually Defined. But I think it may have some helpful information.  Check it out, it may be a bit better than these quote the next time you look at it.

 

 

Awareness of Pain: A Post With Many Links

I think that most people who read this blog with any sense of fairness will recognize that I advocate much more sweeping and radical constitutional change in the United States than almost anyone with prominent access to prominent media advocates. It is a basic truism (and almost a basic truth) that in order to justify advocating  radical change a responsible person must have already found or must promptly find very serious problems and dangers that justify undertaking the risks inherent in making large changes. It is also fair to assume that regular readers will notice that in fact I have often pointed out very serious problems in this country. This post is about the awareness of those problems and dangers which beset our country. 

There is a film which by using Homer’s Odyssey set in the south of this country shows a bit of the gritty reality of our near past. It is part of a method of a awareness to watch such films and in that film there is song. The song does not  reflect the situation in the film. Go to the next link to find the film However, these lyrics are not taken directly from the film.

“Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190590/

Big Rock Candy Mountain

        C                                    F                     C
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there’s a land that’s bright and fair,
           F               C                   Am               G7
For the doughnuts grow on bushes, and there’s lots of cookies there,
         C                                F                C
For the dogs and cats are happy, and the sun shines every day,
            F         C              F          C
There are birds and bees, and the bubble-gum trees,
         F         C                    F         C
by the lemonade springs, where the whippoorwill sings
        G7                C
in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

It seems a pleasant and fun place doesn’t it? Yet we also live in beautiful world and being aware of it and what endangers it is also a sacred trust. Here is a post where I linked to others sharing the burden and duty of that awareness:  https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/bp-spill-environmental-awareness-links-questions/ 

Let’s get back to that song set in a film reworking Homer’s Odyssey with slightly different lyrics longer and a bit more on our point but similar. 

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, the houses are built of blocks
And the little streams of sody pop come trickling down the rocks,
The soldiers there are made of lead, and they are very brave,
There’s a lake of stew, and ice cream too
You can paddle all around in a paper canoe,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

If the soldiers were all made of lead one cannot help but wonder if it would be less important to fight just wars nobly and to seek peace. If ice cream fell like snow and lakes were full of stew then perhaps our agriculture and employment policy would matter less.  But for now we must be aware of how living things, people and communities do find their sustenance. Here is a post where I linked to others who were making us aware of what was at risk in the BP-Macondo Oil Leak:  https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/the-bp-transocean-gushers-risk-some-links-and-notes/

Now, we can return to  song which stands in for many other points of view. I recall, but have not checked, that in the film Brother Where Art Thou? they used the version of the song where the word “frogs” is replaced with “cops”. I think the cops version is the original there would be less food in a world where frog legs were toothpicks and that does not go with the song. On the other hand for someone who wants a free lunch the world would be more abundant if there were only cops with wooden legs and bulldogs with rubber teeth keeping him from other people’s property. 

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, the frogs have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth,
and the hens lay hard-boiled eggs
There’s chocolate pie in all the trees, and jam in all the lakes,
Oh, I’m going to go where the wind don’t blow,
there’s a big free show, and candy snow,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

The song is fun. Living in a world where policy is made on the basis of the idea the song represents but reality is what it is  would not  be fun for a whole lot of people. In many ways that is the world we live in today. Below is a link to a biographical entry describing the life and work of the physician who discovered that the horrors and deformities of leprosy must be understood almost entirely as resulting from the victim’s loss of sensitivity to pain.  

The Wikipedia Biography of Paul Wilson Brand: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wilson_Brand

The use of leprosy and its horrors as a metaphor for the results of many of the ills of humanity and  society are not starting with this blog post. In fact the next link is one to a poll as to whether the denial of sin by atheists is precisely that kind of leprosy  we are discussing:

http://jyte.com/cl/pain-insensitivity-is-to-lepers-as-denial-of-sin-is-to-athiests

Old Testament prophets decrying impiety and humanity, Romantic poets decrying the loss of understanding of nature, Revolutionaries decrying the loss of national integrity or sanity — these are  all examples of a nation’s pain response and awareness. Life is made less frivolous and harder because of the pain we feel when we want to lose ourselves in the moment or the life time of doing whatever it is we would rather be doing. Documentarians have played an important role in recent decades and over much of the last century in pointing out what is wrong  with the world — a useful thing to know.

The first shows a part of the truth of how America becoming play obsessed and focused only on market discipline can play out in a complex world. There is a lot more that is only hinted at such as the destruction of some of the local Mardi Gras and Carnival traditions by visitors who only come for debauchery without the limits of traditions. There is also the fact that things may be much worse than the show portrays in China since they are not exposing anything but what they are told willingly enough. 

Chinese workers export Mardi Gras in Mardi Gras Made in Chinahttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436569/

The second film shows how complex struggles of oil and gas profits, ethnic values and wetlands management affect all of Louisiana and the nation. However, this is done in the context of a close-up portrayal of a few crawfishermen in the Atchafalaya who are not even filmed in an entirely accurate or honest way. The film is in many ways anti-Acadian in it biases and is only forced in the other direction by Katrina. The tendency is to represent swampers as typical Acadians and to represent all swampers as more cut-off from the larger economy than they are. But regardless of where it comes from it says good things with important images.

Angels of the Basin:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1338547/

Then we have the vast problem of angry,ignorant and hate-filled black racist destroying this country in so many ways with the support and formation that has poured in from the west-hating Moslem world for centuries but especially the last fifty years. We ignore all the signs and are headed to destruction but at least our reports give us some of the relevant factoids:  

Omar Thornton ‘s recent shooting is a good example: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20012557-504083.html

However, we have many others as well. We can turn to Wikipedia to remember the Fort Hood Shooting. However let us not remember how much racial-ethnic and religious and social forms of non-awareness contributed to this disaster. The way we have handled the aftermath is a terrible disgrace as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting

Then we have two movies that show a somewhat unfavorable vision of the military and those who serve in it as well as showing why the enemy would not be so ready to flee at their approach. However, the movies are also full both of whole and partial truths as well as humane insights.  I recommend watching them both with a critical eye  but not disparaging the critical eye they turn towards our country and armed forces.

The Lucky Ones: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0981072/

Brothers: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765010/

The truth is that we have so very much to do as soon as possible if we are to be in any way successful as a society. We have many enemies and competitors around the world who will try to keep us from making and then securing the right transitions. However, we are full of internal problems that are far more dangerous. The time to act is here and will not last forever. However, awareness of the pain is the first step towards healing the wounds and pains.

In the models for change I have described here I have set forth a path that can lead to a btter future. But getting there will not be cheap and easy.