Search This Blog

31 August 2007

"Benito Cereno" (1856) by Herman Melville, Chapter 2

Benito Cereno

by Herman Melville


Climbing the side, the visitor was at once surrounded by a clamorous throng of whites and blacks, but the latter outnumbering the former more than could have been expected, Negro transportation-ship as the stranger in port was. But, in one language, and as with one voice, all poured out a common tale of suffering; in which the Negresses, of whom there were not a few, exceeded the others in their dolorous vehemence. The scurvy, together with a fever, had swept off a great part of their number, more especially the Spaniards. Off Cape Horn, they had narrowly escaped shipwreck; then, for days together, they had lain tranced without wind; their provisions were low; their water next to none; their lips that moment were baked.

While Captain Delano was thus made the mark of all eager tongues, his one eager glance took in all the faces, with every other object about him.

Always upon first boarding a large and populous ship at sea, especially a foreign one, with a nondescript crew such as Lascars or Manilla men, the impression varies in a peculiar way from that produced by first entering a strange house with strange inmates in a strange land. Both house and ship, the one by its walls and blinds, the other by its high bulwarks like ramparts, hoard from view their interiors till the last moment; but in the case of the ship there is this addition: that the living spectacle it contains, upon its sudden and complete disclosure, has, in contrast with the blank ocean which zones it, something of the effect of enchantment. The ship seems unreal; these strange costumes, gestures, and faces, but a shadowy tableau just emerged from the deep, which directly must receive back what it gave.

Perhaps it was some such influence as above is attempted to be described which, in Captain Delano's mind, heightened whatever, upon a staid scrutiny, might have seemed unusual; especially the conspicuous figures of four elderly grizzled Negroes, their heads like black, doddered willow tops, who, in venerable contrast to the tumult below them, were couched sphynx-like, one on the starboard cat-head, another on the larboard, and the remaining pair face to face on the opposite bulwarks above the main-chains. They each had bits of unstranded old junk in their hands, and, with a sort of stoical self-content, were picking the junk into oakum, a small heap of which lay by their sides. They accompanied the task with a continuous, low, monotonous chant; droning and drooling away like so many grey-headed bag-pipers playing a funeral march.

The quarter-deck rose into an ample elevated poop, upon the forward verge of which, lifted, like the oakum-pickers, some eight feet above the general throng, sat along in a row, separated by regular spaces, the cross-legged figures of six other blacks; each with a rusty hatchet in his hand, which, with a bit of brick and a rag, he was engaged like a scullion in scouring; while between each two was a small stack of hatchets, their rusted edges turned forward awaiting a like operation. Though occasionally the four oakum-pickers would briefly address some person or persons in the crowd below, yet the six hatchet-polishers neither spoke to others, nor breathed a whisper among themselves, but sat intent upon their task, except at intervals, when, with the peculiar love in Negroes of uniting industry with pastime, two-and-two they sideways clashed their hatchets together, like cymbals, with a barbarous din. All six, unlike the generality, had the raw aspect of unsophisticated Africans.

But the first comprehensive glance which took in those ten figures, with scores less conspicuous, rested but an instant upon them, as, impatient of the hubbub of voices, the visitor turned in quest of whomsoever it might be that commanded the ship.

But as if not unwilling to let nature make known her own case among his suffering charge, or else in despair of restraining it for the time, the Spanish captain, a gentlemanly, reserved-looking, and rather young man to a stranger's eye, dressed with singular richness, but bearing plain traces of recent sleepless cares and disquietudes, stood passively by, leaning against the main-mast, at one moment casting a dreary, spiritless look upon his excited people, at the next an unhappy glance toward his visitor. By his side stood a black of small stature, in whose rude face, as occasionally, like a shepherd's dog, he mutely turned it up into the Spaniard's, sorrow and affection were equally blended.

Struggling through the throng, the American advanced to the Spaniard, assuring him of his sympathies, and offering to render whatever assistance might be in his power. To which the Spaniard returned, for the present, but grave and ceremonious acknowledgments, his national formality dusked by the saturnine mood of ill health.

But losing no time in mere compliments, Captain Delano returning to the gangway, had his baskets of fish brought up; and as the wind still continued light, so that some hours at least must elapse ere the ship could be brought to the anchorage, he bade his men return to the sealer, and fetch back as much water as the whaleboat could carry, with whatever soft bread the steward might have, all the remaining pumpkins on board, with a box of sugar, and a dozen of his private bottles of cider.

Not many minutes after the boat's pushing off, to the vexation of all, the wind entirely died away, and the tide turning, began drifting back the ship helplessly seaward. But trusting this would not last, Captain Delano sought with good hopes to cheer up the strangers, feeling no small satisfaction that, with persons in their condition he could -- thanks to his frequent voyages along the Spanish main -- converse with some freedom in their native tongue.

While left alone with them, he was not long in observing some things tending to heighten his first impressions; but surprise was lost in pity, both for the Spaniards and blacks, alike evidently reduced from scarcity of water and provisions; while long-continued suffering seemed to have brought out the less good-natured qualities of the Negroes, besides, at the same time, impairing the Spaniard's authority over them. But, under the circumstances, precisely this condition of things was to have been anticipated. In armies, navies, cities, or families -- in nature herself -- nothing more relaxes good order than misery. Still, Captain Delano was not without the idea, that had Benito Cereno been a man of greater energy, misrule would hardly have come to the present pass. But the debility, constitutional or induced by the hardships, bodily and mental, of the Spanish captain, was too obvious to be overlooked. A prey to settled dejection, as if long mocked with hope he would not now indulge it, even when it had ceased to be a mock, the prospect of that day or evening at furthest, lying at anchor, with plenty of water for his people, and a brother captain to counsel and befriend, seemed in no perceptible degree to encourage him. His mind appeared unstrung, if not still more seriously affected. Shut up in these oaken walls, chained to one dull round of command, whose unconditionality cloyed him, like some hypochondriac abbot he moved slowly about, at times suddenly pausing, starting, or staring, biting his lip, biting his finger-nail, flushing, paling, twitching his beard, with other symptoms of an absent or moody mind. This distempered spirit was lodged, as before hinted, in as distempered a frame. He was rather tall, but seemed never to have been robust, and now with nervous suffering was almost worn to a skeleton. A tendency to some pulmonary complaint appeared to have been lately confirmed. His voice was like that of one with lungs half gone, hoarsely suppressed, a husky whisper. No wonder that, as in this state he tottered about, his private servant apprehensively followed him. Sometimes the Negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar offices with that affectionate zeal which transmutes into something filial or fraternal acts in themselves but menial; and which has gained for the Negro the repute of making the most pleasing body-servant in the world; one, too, whom a master need be on no stiffly superior terms with, but may treat with familiar trust; less a servant than a devoted companion.

Marking the noisy indocility of the blacks in general, as well as what seemed the sullen inefficiency of the whites, it was not without humane satisfaction that Captain Delano witnessed the steady good conduct of Babo.

But the good conduct of Babo, hardly more than the ill-behaviour of others, seemed to withdraw the half-lunatic Don Benito from his cloudy languor. Not that such precisely was the impression made by the Spaniard on the mind of his visitor. The Spaniard's individual unrest was, for the present, but noted as a conspicuous feature in the ship's general affliction. Still, Captain Delano was not a little concerned at what he could not help taking for the time to be Don Benito's unfriendly indifference toward himself. The Spaniard's manner, too, conveyed a sort of sour and gloomy disdain, which he seemed at no pains to disguise. But this the American in charity ascribed to the harassing effects of sickness, since, in former instances, he had noted that there are peculiar natures on whom prolonged physical suffering seems to cancel every social instinct of kindness; as if forced to black bread themselves, they deemed it but equity that each person coming nigh them should, indirectly, by some slight or affront, be made to partake of their fare.

But ere long Captain Delano bethought him that, indulgent as he was at the first, in judging the Spaniard, he might not, after all, have exercised charity enough. At bottom it was Don Benito's reserve which displeased him; but the same reserve was shown toward all but his personal attendant. Even the formal reports which, according to sea-usage, were at stated times made to him by some petty underling (either a white, mulatto or black), he hardly had patience enough to listen to, without betraying contemptuous aversion. His manner upon such occasions was, in its degree, not unlike that which might be supposed to have been his imperial countryman's, Charles V., just previous to the anchoritish retirement of that monarch from the throne.

This splenetic disrelish of his place was evinced in almost every function pertaining to it. Proud as he was moody, he condescended to no personal mandate. Whatever special orders were necessary, their delivery was delegated to his body-servant, who in turn transferred them to their ultimate destination, through runners, alert Spanish boys or slave boys, like pages or pilot-fish within easy call continually hovering round Don Benito. So that to have beheld this undemonstrative invalid gliding about, apathetic and mute, no landsman could have dreamed that in him was lodged a dictatorship beyond which, while at sea, there was no earthly appeal.

Thus, the Spaniard, regarded in his reserve, seemed as the involuntary victim of mental disorder. But, in fact, his reserve might, in some degree, have proceeded from design. If so, then in Don Benito was evinced the unhealthy climax of that icy though conscientious policy, more or less adopted by all commanders of large ships, which, except in signal emergencies, obliterates alike the manifestation of sway with every trace of sociality; transforming the man into a block, or rather into a loaded cannon, which, until there is call for thunder, has nothing to say.

Viewing him in this light, it seemed but a natural token of the perverse habit induced by a long course of such hard self-restraint, that, notwithstanding the present condition of his ship, the Spaniard should still persist in a demeanour, which, however harmless -- or it may be, appropriate -- in a well-appointed vessel, such as the San Dominick might have been at the outset of the voyage, was anything but judicious now. But the Spaniard perhaps thought that it was with captains as with gods: reserve, under all events, must still be their cue. But more probably this appearance of slumbering dominion might have been but an attempted disguise to conscious imbecility -- not deep policy, but shallow device. But be all this as it might, whether Don Benito's manner was designed or not, the more Captain Delano noted its pervading reserve, the less he felt uneasiness at any particular manifestation of that reserve toward himself.

Neither were his thoughts taken up by the captain alone. Wonted to the quiet orderliness of the sealer's comfortable family of a crew, the noisy confusion of the San Dominick's suffering host repeatedly challenged his eye. Some prominent breaches not only of discipline but of decency were observed. These Captain Delano could not but ascribe, in the main, to the absence of those subordinate deck-officers to whom, along with higher duties, is entrusted what may be styled the police department of a populous ship. True, the old oakum-pickers appeared at times to act the part of monitorial constables to their countrymen, the blacks; but though occasionally succeeding in allaying trifling outbreaks now and then between man and man, they could do little or nothing toward establishing general quiet. The San Dominick was in the condition of a transatlantic emigrant ship, among whose multitude of living freight are some individuals, doubtless, as little troublesome as crates and bales; but the friendly remonstrances of such with their ruder companions are of not so much avail as the unfriendly arm of the mate. What the San Dominick wanted was, what the emigrant ship has, stern superior officers. But on these decks not so much as a fourth mate was to be seen.

~ ~ ~

The text of "Benito Cereno," by Herman Melville, published in 1856, is in the public domain. This html edition, prepared by Ken Roberts of Ontario, Canada, is also in the public domain. The section numbers and captions have been added for convenience, and were not in the original text.

This serialization, with a brief historical background, begins here.

Next chapter.

UNTOUCHED by HUMAN HANDS: u got till 22:30 EDT to use these Scientific Numbers to play Mega Millions and get filthy rich / also PizzaQ

Here are some number combinations generated Scientifically by the VAMRI (Vleeptron Advanced Mathematics Research Institute) Supercomputer, Colossus Forbin Jr., to play the USA multi-state lottery Mega Millions, whose estimated jackpot for tonight's drawing (Friday 31 August 2007) is


(but will probably grow bigger in the hours preceeding the drawing, which will be at 11PM USA East Coast Time).

The usual Vleeptron deal: If you play any of these number combos, and you WIN BIG -- the Jackpot or the consolation prize of U$250,000 -- you owe Vleeptron (i.e. Me, Moi, Bob) a modest 2.5 percent.


PIZZAQ (1 Slice plain):

To your surprise, a random computer program recommends you play

1 2 3 4 5 Megaball: 6

Should you? Or should you treat it like radioactive leper pus, shred it, and play another more normal-looking combo? Also, should you take your computer to the shop and pay $25 to have it diagnosed for this obvious malfunction? Explain your answer.


Mega Millions
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mega Millions is a multi-state U$1 lottery game in the United States. Twelve U.S. states currently license Mega Millions as a provider of multistate lotteries in those states (29 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands license Powerball, Mega Millions' main competitor).

As of 2007, Mega Millions features jackpots of at least US$12 million, payable in 26 annual payments or a lump sum cash payout. As will be explained later, there are differences in playing Mega Millions from state to state. Mega Millions is drawn Tuesdays and Fridays; the current estimated jackpot for Friday, August 31, 2007 is US$330 million, with a cash option of about $194.4 million.


Tickets went on sale in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia for the new lottery on August 31, 1996, then known as The Big Game. Six days later, the first drawing was held. Drawings were held weekly on Fridays until they held a Tuesday drawing on February 10, 1998. On January 13, 1999, jackpot winners had the choice to claim the prize in lump sum for the first time (however, an Illinois winner in late 1998 was allowed to receive their prize in cash.) In May 1999, New Jersey joined The Big Game.

On May 9, 2000, The Big Game offered a jackpot worth $363 million. The prize was won by two ticket holders from different states. This was the largest under its old name and was once the world's largest. This was later surpassed on February 18, 2006 by a $365 million jackpot from Powerball, the other big interstate lottery.

On April 16, 2002, the last Big Game jackpot was won. This prize was worth $331 million and there were 3 winners. On May 14 that year, The Big Game held its last drawing.

New York and Ohio joined the Big Game on May 15, 2002. This was when the game was changed to its current name, Mega Millions. Also, the "Big Money Ball" changed its name to the "Mega Ball." After its name change to "Mega Millions" from "The Big Game," the yellow ball in the logo of the Mega Millions read "The Big Game." The first Mega Millions drawing was held on May 17, 2002. Three more states later joined: Washington in that same year, Texas in 2003, and California in 2005.

After rolling over 15 times, Mega Millions offered a jackpot $390 million on March 6, 2007. This set a new world record for the largest jackpot, returning the title to Mega Millions after being held briefly by Powerball. There were two winners in the $390 million draw, one each from Georgia and New Jersey.

Playing the game

As of 2007, to play the game, a player pays one dollar and picks five numbers from 1 to 56 (white balls) and one additional number from 1 to 46 (the Mega Ball number, a yellow ball). In Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Texas, the player must also choose, in advance, whether they wish to collect a jackpot in lump sum or annuity. Georgia and New Jersey winners can change an annuity ticket to cash; however, the choice is binding in New York and Texas. Tickets may be obtained from either retail locations, or by mail in select states (currently, only Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia offer subscriptions by mail).

Previous incarnations of the Big Game and Mega Millions have had different matrices:

Date Pick 5 out of Pick 1 out of
September 9, 1996 50 25
January 13, 1999 50 36
May 15, 2002 (became Mega Millions) 52 52
June 22, 2005 (current) 56 46

Tickets must be purchased 15 minutes prior the draw (usually 11 PM Eastern time), accounting for local time zone differences.

Laws and regulations vary slightly and are generally governed by the applicable laws in the state where the ticket is sold, and the winner's home state (e.g. if a New Jersey resident buys a winning ticket near their workplace in Manhattan.) Mega Millions winnings are generally exempt from state income tax in California and New Jersey; Texas and Washington have no state income tax. On the other hand, residents of New York City and Yonkers, New York pay city tax in addition to state and federal taxes.

As of 2007, a player wins a prize according to the following chart:

Matches Payout [1] Odds of winning
Normal balls
(pool of 56) Mega ball
(pool of 46)
5 1 Jackpot[2] 1 in 175,711,536
5 0 $250,000 1 in 3,904,701
4 1 $10,000 1 in 689,065
4 0 $150 1 in 15,313
3 1 $150 1 in 13,781
3 0 $7 1 in 306
2 1 $10 1 in 844
1 1 $3 1 in 141
0 1 $2 1 in 75
Overall odds of winning any prize 1 in 40

The overall payout in Mega Millions is 50 percent.

The Texas Lottery offers players a chance to multiply lower-tier prizes. This feature is called "Megaplier".

Machines Used

Like most games that used power or bonus balls, a pair of machines are used. The balls are moved around inside a rotating drum. The winning balls drop through a hole in the drum a single at a time.

The draw

Drawings are usually held at WSB-TV in Atlanta at 11 PM Eastern time on Tuesdays and Fridays. Usually, the announcer is WSB's chief weather forecaster, Glenn Burns. However, drawings may sometimes be held elsewhere:

* On February 20 and July 2, 2004, when the jackpot reached near-record levels (annuitized values of US$230 million and US$290 million, respectively), the draws were held in Times Square with popular New York Lottery draw host Yolanda Vega.

* On June 24, 2005, to commemorate California joining Mega Millions, the drawing was held in Hollywood, California with Carrie Underwood assisting Glenn Burns for the draw.

* On March 6, 2007, the draw returned to Times Square with host Yolanda Vega due to the the world's largest jackpot offered (an annuitized jackpot of US$390 million).

Record jackpots
Prize Date Winners Description
$390 million March 6, 2007 Two ticket holders World's largest jackpot
$363 million May 9, 2000 Two ticket holders Largest Big Game prize
$330 million August 31, 2007 (tonight's drawing)

Participating States

The following states participate in the Mega Millions lottery game:

* California (joined in 2005; newest, and possibly last, member)
* Georgia (original member; had offered Powerball but dropped out when the Big Game began)
* Illinois
* Maryland
* Massachusetts
* Michigan
* New Jersey (1999)
* New York (2002)
* Ohio (2002; New York and Ohio joined at the same time when Mega Millions began)
* Texas (2003)
* Virginia
* Washington (2002)

States without a date listed above are the six original Big Game members. New Jersey is the only state to be added in the Big Game era (September 1996-May 2002).

As of May 2007, the minimum age to purchase a Mega Millions ticket is 18, regardless of participating state. In most of these states, with the exception of Virginia, minors can win on tickets received as gifts; the rules according to each state vary for minors receiving prizes.

Unlike Powerball, there are significant differences in play style among a number of the Mega Millions states:

* California's eight lower-tier prize levels (as well as the jackpot) are pari-mutuel. Its second prize often rolls over, and has paid over $1 million (cash) on multiple occasions.

* New York requires the jackpot choice (cash or annuity) to be made when the ticket is bought.

* Ohio has a Kicker game than can be played only with Mega Millions. A six-digit number is printed on all Ohio Mega Millions tickets, regardless if the Kicker is activated.

* Texas is the other Mega Millions state that requires the payment choice to be made before winning, instead of after. (This also applies to its Lotto Texas.) Likewise, it is the only state with the Megaplier (see above).

Georgia and New Jersey, while requiring the cash/annuity choice when playing, allows an annuity ticket to be changed to lump sum when claiming (a cash ticket cannot be changed, however). The jackpot choice in New York and Texas is binding. The game-wide cash option started after federal regulations signed by then-President Bill Clinton no longer required the choice to be made when playing.

Except in California, where it is 180 days, Mega Millions winners have one year in which to claim all prizes, including the jackpot (although some winners lose the right to collect a jackpot in cash if they wait more than 60 days after the drawing).


The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 resulted in the state of New York passing legislation that included joining a multi-state lottery game. Separately, Ohio also voted as such. Both states opted to join the then-Big Game (on May 15, 2002) and its seven members. The added populations of the two new states, in turn, led to a larger double matrix (actually, the first machine continued to hold 52 balls, while 16 gold balls were added in the second, meaning there were 52 numbers to pick from in each part of a $1 game.) At this time, the game was renamed Mega Millions.

A budget impasse in New Jersey in June 2006 led to the temporary shutdown of less-important state agencies on July 1, 2006. Among the casualties were the Atlantic City casinos, and the New Jersey Lottery. Not only were the in-state games (such as New Jersey Pick 6) not drawn for about a week, but all its lottery terminals were shut down, meaning Mega Millions could not be played in the Garden State, even though Mega Millions was drawn as usual.


1. ^ Payouts are uniform in all Mega Millions states, except in California, where all prizes, including the jackpot, are pari-mutuel, meaning payouts are based on sales and the number of winners. All other Mega Millions states set the second through ninth prizes at pre-determined amounts.

2. ^ If more than one person wins the jackpot, the prize is equally divided among the winning tickets. Winners have between 180 days to 1 year to collect the jackpot, depending upon the applicable laws in the state where the winning ticket was sold. Other than in New York and Texas (see above), a jackpot winner has 60 days from the drawing, or in some states, 60 days after claiming, to choose cash or annuity. The lump sum payment is typically approximately 55%-60% of the annuity value. The minimum jackpot prize is US$12 million, disbursed in 26 annual payments, or a cash payout.

External links

* - Official site

Retrieved from ""

* This page was last modified 01:36, 31 August 2007.
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.

Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running!

29 August 2007

"Benito Cereno" (1856) by Herman Melville, Chapter 1

To offer the barest bones of the historical background of this narrative, the United States had become an independent nation in 1783, and the transatlantic African slave trade was still legal in nearly all European, South American and North American nations in 1799.

Around 1823, Methodists and Quakers in England had begun politically agitating for the abolition of slavery, and in 1838 the British government abolished slavery in all its possessions and began using its Navy to suppress the Atlantic slave trade.

Slavery was not abolished in the southern half of the United States until the catastrophic Civil War (1861 - 1865).

This narrative takes place in the era when American ships, military and merchant, were ambitiously, effectively and agressively seeking out wealth, and shaping more favorable local conditions for acquiring wealth, much as their European predecessors had been doing for several centuries. Most of this worldwide sea activity sprang from Atlantic port cities and towns in New England.

Herman Melville served as a cabin boy and sailor aboard whalers and merchant vessels in the Atlantic, and sailed on several long voyages to the South Pacific.
~ ~ ~

Benito Cereno

by Herman Melville

1 -- A SHIP

IN THE year 1799, Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts, commanding a large sealer and general trader, lay at anchor, with a valuable cargo, in the harbour of St. Maria -- a small, desert, uninhabited island towards the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili. There he had touched for water.

On the second day, not long after dawn, while lying in his berth, his mate came below, informing him that a strange sail was coming into the bay. Ships were then not so plenty in those waters as now. He rose, dressed, and went on deck.

The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Everything was mute and calm; everything grey. The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter's mould. The sky seemed a grey mantle. Flights of troubled grey fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled grey vapours among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come.

To Captain Delano's surprise, the stranger, viewed through the glass, showed no colours; though to do so upon entering a haven, however uninhabited in its shores, where but a single other ship might be lying, was the custom among peaceful seamen of all nations. Considering the lawlessness and loneliness of the spot, and the sort of stories, at that day, associated with those seas, Captain Delano's surprise might have deepened into some uneasiness had he not been a person of a singularly undistrustful good nature, not liable, except on extraordinary and repeated excitement, and hardly then, to indulge in personal alarms, any way involving the imputation of malign evil in man. Whether, in view of what humanity is capable, such a trait implies, along with a benevolent heart, more than ordinary quickness and accuracy of intellectual perception, may be left to the wise to determine.

But whatever misgivings might have obtruded on first seeing the stranger would almost, in any seaman's mind, have been dissipated by observing that the ship, in navigating into the harbour, was drawing too near the land, for her own safety's sake, owing to a sunken reef making out off her bow. This seemed to prove her a stranger, indeed, not only to the sealer, but the island; consequently, she could be no wonted freebooter on that ocean. With no small interest, Captain Delano continued to watch her -- a proceeding not much facilitated by the vapours partly mantling the hull, through which the far matin light from her cabin streamed equivocally enough; much like the sun -- by this time crescented on the rim of the horizon, and apparently, in company with the strange ship, entering the harbour -- which, wimpled by the same low, creeping clouds, showed not unlike a Lima intriguante's one sinister eye peering across the Plaza from the Indian loop-hole of her dusk saya-y-manta.

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. Ere long it seemed hard to decide whether she meant to come in or no -- what she wanted, or what she was about. The wind, which had breezed up a little during the night, was now extremely light and baffling, which the more increased the apparent uncertainty of her movements.

Surmising, at last, that it might be a ship in distress, Captain Delano ordered his whale-boat to be dropped, and, much to the wary opposition of his mate, prepared to board her, and, at the least, pilot her in. On the night previous, a fishing-party of the seamen had gone a long distance to some detached rocks out of sight from the sealer, and, an hour or two before day-break, had returned, having met with no small success. Presuming that the stranger might have been long off soundings, the good captain put several baskets of the fish, for presents, into his boat, and so pulled away. From her continuing too near the sunken reef, deeming her in danger, calling to his men, he made all haste to apprise those on board of their situation. But, some time ere the boat came up, the wind, light though it was, having shifted, had headed the vessel off, as well as partly broken the vapours from about her.

Upon gaining a less remote view, the ship, when made signally visible on the verge of the leaden-hued swells, with the shreds of fog here and there raggedly furring her, appeared like a whitewashed monastery after a thunder-storm, seen perched upon some dun cliff among the Pyrenees. But it was no purely fanciful resemblance which now, for a moment, almost led Captain Delano to think that nothing less than a ship-load of monks was before him. Peering over the bulwarks were what really seemed, in the hazy distance, throngs of dark cowls; while, fitfully revealed through the open port-holes, other dark moving figures were dimly descried, as of Black Friars pacing the cloisters.

Upon a still nigher approach, this appearance was modified, and the true character of the vessel was plain -- a Spanish merchantman of the first class; carrying Negro slaves, amongst other valuable freight, from one colonial port to another. A very large, and, in its time, a very fine vessel, such as in those days were at intervals encountered along that main; sometimes superseded Acapulco treasure-ships, or retired frigates of the Spanish king's navy, which, like superannuated Italian palaces, still, under a decline of masters, preserved signs of former state.

As the whale-boat drew more and more nigh, the cause of the peculiar pipe-clayed aspect of the stranger was seen in the slovenly neglect pervading her. The spars, ropes, and great part of the bulwarks looked woolly, from long unacquaintance with the scraper, tar, and the brush. Her keel seemed laid, her ribs put together, and she launched, from Ezekiel's Valley of Dry Bones.

In the present business in which she was engaged, the ship's general model and rig appeared to have undergone no material change from their original warlike and Froissart pattern. However, no guns were seen.

The tops were large, and were railed about with what had once been octagonal net-work, all now in sad disrepair. These tops hung overhead like three ruinous aviaries, in one of which was seen perched, on a ratlin, a white noddy, a strange fowl, so called from its lethargic somnambulistic character, being frequently caught by hand at sea. Battered and mouldy, the castellated forecastle seemed some ancient turret, long ago taken by assault, and then left to decay. Towards the stern, two high-raised quarter galleries -- the balustrades here and there covered with dry, tindery sea-moss -- opening out from the unoccupied state-cabin, whose dead lights, for all the mild weather, were hermetically closed and caulked -- these tenantless balconies hung over the sea as if it were the grand Venetian canal. But the principal relic of faded grandeur was the ample oval of the shield-like stern-piece, intricately carved with the arms of Castile and Leon, medallioned about by groups of mythological or symbolical devices; uppermost and central of which was a dark satyr in a mask, holding his foot on the prostrate neck of a writhing figure, likewise masked.

Whether the ship had a figure-head, or only a plain beak, was not quite certain, owing to canvas wrapped about that part, either to protect it while undergoing a refurbishing, or else decently to hide its decay. Rudely painted or chalked, as in a sailor freak, along the forward side of a sort of pedestal below the canvas, was the sentence, "Seguid vuestro jefe" (follow your leader); while upon the tarnished head-boards, near by, appeared, in stately capitals, once gilt, the ship's name, "SAN DOMINICK," each letter streakingly corroded with tricklings of copper-spike rust; while, like mourning weeds, dark festoons of sea-grass slimily swept to and fro over the name, with every hearse-like roll of the hull.

As at last the boat was hooked from the bow along toward the gangway amidship, its keel, while yet some inches separated from the hull, harshly grated as on a sunken coral reef. It proved a huge bunch of conglobated barnacles adhering below the water to the side like a wen; a token of baffling airs and long calms passed somewhere in those seas.
~ ~ ~

The text of "Benito Cereno," by Herman Melville, published in 1856, is in the public domain. This html edition, prepared by Ken Roberts of Ontario, Canada, is also in the public domain. The section numbers and captions have been added for convenience, and were not in the original text.

S.W.M.B.O. & the Giant Ghost Pumpkin / the secret of growing monster pumpkins

This new Ghost Pumpkin makes very spooky Jack-o-Lanterns.

S.W.M.B.O. is not smiling as broadly as she might wish. In early Spring she bought Ghost Pumpkin seeds and tried to grow them herself, and by late August they had grown to the size of cherry tomatoes. She wanted to find the gardener who grew this Ghost Pumpkin and murder him, but he was nowhere to be found.

The Secret of growing monster giant humungous pumpkins is ... uhhh ... excrement. Manure. 50-pound bag after bag of poop.

That's it. That's the big secret.

If the Big Circus comes to town, they sell bags of extra-expensive Tiger and Lion poop. Some gardeners are convinced the poop of exotic wild jungle cats is better than cow poop, and make a special trip not to see the Circus, but to buy the expensive jungle cat poop.

The Big Circus was co-founded by Phineas T. Barnum, who said: "There's a sucker born every minute."

28 August 2007

Finally! I met my Hero! Me and Smokey Bear! at the Cummington Fair!

Please keep watching Vleeptron for lots more photos, and a metric shitload of thrilled words, about our Sunday at the Cummington Fair!

Hmmmm, sorry about my smile, I need to get my lower choppers fixed. But I won't let my vanity (enormous) stand in the way of posting this photo of me and my lifelong hero!

What a nice bear! What a great lifetime of great achievement!

He really was almost burned to death in a forest fire when he was a cub, you know. I think in New Mexico. Rangers found him all singed and smoking and clinging high up in a tree -- where his mom had sent him for safety. That's really true.

Smokey Bear's Song

With a Ranger's hat and shovel
and a pair of dungarees,
you will find him in the forest
always sniffin' at the breeze.
People stop and pay attention
when he tells 'em to beware,
'cause ev'rybody knows that
he's the Fire Prevention Bear.

Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
Prowlin' and a-growlin' and a-sniffin' the air.
He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
That's why they call him Smokey,
That was how he got his name.

You can take a tip from Smokey
that there's nothin' like a tree.
'cause they're good for kids to climb in
and they're beautiful to see,
you just have to look around you
and you'll find it's not a joke,
to see what you'd be missin'
if they all went up in smoke.

You can camp upon his doorstep
and he'll make you feel at home;
You can run and hunt and ramble
anywhere you care to roam.
He will let you take his honey
and pretend he's not so smart,
but don't you harm his trees
for he's a Ranger in his heart.

If you've ever seen the forest
when a fire is running wild,
and you love the things within it
like a mother loves her child,
then you know why Smokey tells you
when he sees you passing through,
'Remember ... please be careful ....
it's the least that you can do.'

26 August 2007

TUESDAY: Total Eclipse of the Moon! Detailed Viewing Instructions!

Clicking probably beneficial.

Last March 3rd, Europeans had a fine late-night view of the previous total lunar eclipse. In France, Laurent Laveder captured a series of images to make this composite.

The 28 August eclipse, by contrast, will occur low in the west as dawn is brightening for many observers. (Composite photo by Laurent Laveder.)

Sky and Telescope Magazine (USA)

OBSERVING BLOG by Alan MacRobert

Lunar Eclipse
on Tuesday 28 August 2007

Skywatchers in the Americas get their second total eclipse of the Moon this year on Tuesday morning, August 28th. But as with the first one (back on 3 March), you may find that the shadowed Moon is intimately involved with bright twilight and your local horizon, depending on where you are.

The Moon sets during the eclipse over much of America. (See maps above.)

In fact, this eclipse is practically a mirror image of the one in March. It will happen while the Moon is sinking low in the west before or during dawn, instead of rising in the east during or after dusk. And this time, westerners in North America get the good view, while easterners are the ones who’ll miss some or most of the show.

The farther west you are, the better. In the Pacific time zone, you’ll see the Moon’s edge begin slipping into the dark part of Earth’s shadow very early, at 1:51 a.m. PDT. Totality, with the Moon completely in shadow, runs from 2:52 to 3:23 a.m. PDT, and the last partial stage of the eclipse ends at 5:24 a.m. PDT. At that time the Moon is still fairly well up in the southwest and dawn is perhaps only beginning to break.

These events happen an hour later by the clock in each time zone farther east. This means Midwesterners will see the Moon approach the horizon and become lost in the light of dawn while totality is still in progress. And in New England the Moon will be low and the sky quite bright before totality starts.

These complications will offer interesting photo opportunities. Remember that the Moon appears very small by normal photographic standards: ½° wide, less than the size of your little fingernail seen at arm’s length. So zoom your camera in as far as you can. See our online article for more photo tips.

If you’re in Hawaii or New Zealand the entire eclipse happens high in a dark sky. In Australia and the Far East, the action happens low in the eastern sky on the evening of August 28th local date, perhaps around sunset or in twilight.

Eclipse Darkness

How dull and dark, or how bright and colorful, will the Moon get this time while in Earth’s shadow? The March eclipse was moderately bright. Many people noted that the major craters remained easily visible with binoculars throughout the event, and the lunar maria (its dark “seas”) could be seen with the unaided eye. The colors were fairly subdued, ranging from near-white at the Moon’s brightest edge to rose, brick-red, or perhaps chocolate at the darkest edge.

During August’s total lunar eclipse, the Moon passes through the southern part of Earth’s umbra, or shadow core. The eclipse is partial while the Moon is moving across the umbra’s edge. Less noticeable will be the first and last stages of the eclipse, when the Moon is only in the penumbra, the shadow’s pale outer fringe. Click above for a larger image.

In August, the Moon will pass closer to the center of our planet’s shadow than it did in March. So this time, we might expect it to be slightly duller and darker around mid-eclipse.

The reason a totally eclipsed Moon isn’t completely black is because Earth’s atmosphere scatters and refracts some reddened sunlight into our planet’s shadow. This is why the shadow’s umbra (its dark central portion) glows with a ruddy hue — anywhere from bright sunset-orange to dark blood-black.

An astronaut on the Moon would see that this illumination is coming from all the sunrises and sunsets ringing the dark Earth with the Sun hidden behind it. The brightness of Earth’s sunrise-sunset ring depends on weather conditions around the world at the time and especially on the amount of dust suspended in the upper atmosphere.

On 27 October 2004, the Moon was eclipsed during Game 4 of the World Series [baseball].

Even during a given eclipse, colors and shades in the umbra can be surprisingly varied. The Moon will pass south of the shadow’s center this time, so around mid-eclipse the south part of the Moon (the lower-left part as seen from North America) should look brightest. Around the beginning of totality, you’ll probably see a bright yellowish or even bluish-white arc just inside the umbra’s edge. Such effects give the eclipsed Moon a very three-dimensional appearance.

The Next Lunar Eclipse

First it was easterners’ turn, now westerners’ — but on 21 February 2008, all of the Americas will get a fine view of a total lunar eclipse high in the dark evening sky. That event will end a series of three in less than a year.

Copyright © 2007 New Track Media. All rights reserved.
Sky & Telescope, Night Sky, and are registered trademarks of New Track Media.

We're going to the Cummington Fair today! I'm so excited! We're going to see the bunnies and the chickens and the yaks and the tractors and the oxen

Poster image filched from chickenbetty's blog.

In recent years The Cummington Fair has been recycling its old posters from the 19th Century, and like recycled old calendars, using old posters where the weekend dates are the same as this year's fair.

At the Cummington Fair, it is as if 9/11 or the Iraq War or the Vietnam War or the assassination of President Kennedy or of Martin Luther King Jr. never happened. There are American flags here and there, but not a fearsome superpatriotic explosion of flags in your face. Little girls wander around holding hands, unsupervised.

There's Fried Dough to eat, of course, and pierogies, and hot dogs and French fries, and cotton candy, and every Delicious Bad Thing an agricultural fair out in the boonies ever deep-fried and served to people who should know better.

The worst peril or danger anyone faces is getting too close to some huge animal and getting your foot stepped on. The background noise in the animal sheds are moos and baaahs and bleats and the squawks of chickens and the grunts of gigantic hogs and sows. There are yaks and llamas and alpacas and camels. Ponies, of course.

I'm a City Boy, and it's here every summer that I have long conversations with farmers and the children of farmers who have brought their sheep or chickens or goats or heifers or bunnies to the fair to be judged and to win a blue or a red ribbon. It is here I learn about where my food comes from, and meet the people who grow it for me.

Giant draught horses pull sledges of a ton of concrete blocks. Teams of oxen with wooden yokes do the same! Ancient steam-powered tractors and farm machinery! Ancient automobiles -- one very nice gent let me crank-start his Model T Ford, the first and only time I ever cranked a car! (It's Very Hard!)

Wonderful cheap little hand-made arts and crafts for sale! Cheap screwy hats! This year's junky t-shirts! Biker leather crap! A lady who'll read my Tarot! Home-made jams and jellies and honey!

The Cummington Fair is just More Fun than people should be allowed to have with their clothes on. I'm so excited! A day in the Now which is EXACTLY like Country Fair Day 100 or 150 years ago! Almost no cell phones (I think Cummington, far from cities and up in the mountains, is a cell phone Dead Zone) or iPods!

25 August 2007

Glenn Gould and Cornelia Foss -- music, art, love, passion, heartbreak

The Toronto Star
Toronto Ontario Canada
Saturday 25 August 2007
The secret life of Glenn Gould
by Michael Clarkson
Special to the Star
BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. -- When Glenn Gould died young 25 years ago, friends were stunned to find a love letter in his cluttered Toronto apartment, among the empty pill pots and records.
"I am deeply in love with a certain beautiful girl. I asked her to marry me, but she turned me down but I still love her more than anything in the world and every minute I can spend with her is pure heaven ..."
It was the curtain call of not so much a life as an opera for perhaps the greatest piano virtuoso of the 20th century, who moved millions with his spiritual renditions of Bach, but was so afraid of intimacy and germs he was reluctant to let people touch him.
"No supreme pianist has ever given of his heart and mind so overwhelmingly while showing himself so sparingly," said renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
History tells us that Gould, like so many geniuses, attained musical nirvana by giving up earthly desires for his work and that he could not love unless his Steinway was in the room.
And yet, for four-and-a-half years, Gould allowed a beautiful, married artist to care for him, to caress him. In the words of his favourite Barbra Streisand song, "He Touched Me" – "Suddenly ... nothing was the same." To this day, Gould is remembered as a Canadian cultural giant, yet his private life remains shrouded in mystery. For most of his adult life, rumours abounded that he was asexual or gay.
Gould was so paranoid about exposing his private life, he would cut off any colleagues or friends who discussed it and once fired a cleaning lady for gossiping about him.
Now, for the first time, we know that the intensely private Gould carried on an affair for five years, beginning in 1967, with a married German-American painter named Cornelia Foss. She left her husband Lukas, himself a prominent pianist and conductor, and moved her two children to Toronto at the height of the affair. A year before her move, Gould had asked her to marry him.
This bold attempt at domesticity may have marked the most intense chapter in Gould's lifelong struggle with his demons. His phobias and pill-popping for a number of maladies, many of them imaginary, likely contributed to his early death on October 4, 1982, nine days after his 50th birthday.
At her summer home in the Hamptons, Foss spoke to me recently – her first published interview on the subject – about life with Glenn Gould.
It is a story of obsession and heartbreak. Most of all, it is the rarest of windows into the guarded inner life of one of the 20th century's most compelling, and mystifying, artistic figures.
"I think there were a lot of misconceptions about Glenn and it was partly because he was so very private," Foss said.
"But I assure you, he was an extremely heterosexual man. Our relationship was, among other things, quite sexual."
One night in 1956, the glamorous young Fosses – Lukas and Cornelia – were driving to dinner near their Los Angeles home when Bach's "Goldberg Variations" came on the car radio. Lukas, a dynamic pianist, composer and conductor, was so enraptured by the brilliantly unorthodox interpretation – by an obscure young Canadian named Glenn Gould – he stopped the car and pulled over to listen for so long they were late for dinner.
A short time later, Lukas was rehearsing for a show with Leonard Bernstein in balmy L.A. when a blond, baby-faced 24-year-old Gould showed up unannounced in winter clothes. "My husband looked up and saw a hat and scarf coming toward him," Cornelia recalled, chuckling. "(Gould) said to Lukas, `Hello, I'm Glenn Gould. I came to hear the greatest pianist in the world.'"
Lukas was 34 at the time and his wife 25. It was the beginning of a long relationship for all of them.
"I was drawn to his handsome looks and his huge intelligence," Foss said. "He had an original mind, was extraordinarily canny and had an enormous sense of humour."
Gould was attracted by Cornelia's striking looks, intelligence and independent streak. The daughter of an art-historian father and a mother who was also an expert in classical art, she had studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome, where she was introduced to Lukas by the famous American composer Aaron Copland.
(The Fosses had both fled the Nazis in their native Germany and were educated in Europe and California.)
In Los Angeles, the couple lived in actor John Barrymore's old house and held parties for the heavyweights of the American music scene. "They were very social and we had fascinating evenings," said Cornelia's close friend, Edith Wyle. "Cornelia was always charming."
The Fosses first saw Gould perform live in 1956 in L.A. The Gould experience was a true novelty, both for the couple and the classical music world – he sat sidesaddle at the piano in a trance, swooning and swaying, humming while conducting himself with his free hand as his hair flew about.
"He was the James Dean of classical music," said Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic of the Washington Post and a friend of Gould's. "He made Bach swing."
And yet, prior to his concerts, fans were given cards, asking not to shake Gould's hand because he said he was afraid of hurting his fingers. Many people felt he was more afraid of intimacy and catching germs. "He almost certainly desired more physical contact than his anxiety permitted him to enjoy," wrote Kevin Bazzana, editor of Glenn Gould Magazine in his book Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould.
Much of Gould's intimate contact came in the act of musical collaboration, and he and Lukas worked together on some scores and on Gould's radio documentaries. He and the Fosses grew close. In 1962, when the couple's L.A. home burned down, destroying 27 of Cornelia's paintings, Gould consoled her and "was very kind to me."
The following year, in 1963, Lukas found work as conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fosses couldn't have been happier. Gould lived just 90 minutes away in Toronto.
"Glenn phoned my home a lot. It started out as a friendship with Lukas and Glenn and me, but slowly Glenn and I began a love affair," Cornelia said. "Our life together moved slowly forward and was carefully planned."
Suddenly, she found herself swept away by a second blue-eyed pianist with a strong face who looked deeply into life. But Gould's personality couldn't have been more different than Lukas's. Gould bordered on reclusive, whereas Lukas did not meet a person he did not want to embrace.
They were both highly driven though. "They were very passionate, had enormous ability and had great love for what they were doing," she said. "I think Lukas was even more passionate and driven than Glenn."
Lukas became suspicious of the pair when Gould began phoning their home, pretending to be someone else, as he often did for fun, introducing himself as one of his many fictional alter egos: Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite, the dean of British conductors; Theodore Slutz, a New York cabbie; or Herbert von Hochmeister, sage of the Arctic. Gould would sometimes have his calls answered by the Fosses's Chinese maid, but he didn't realize that the maid was Lukas, returning the strange joke. Cornelia says in 1966 Gould asked her to marry him. And she considered it.
Then, in 1967, she left Lukas. "There were a few problems in our marriage, but that's not why I left – I fell in love with someone else," she said. Cornelia put her two young children, 9-year-old Christopher and 5-year-old Eliza, into their station wagon and left Buffalo.
"I'll never forget Lukas standing by the station wagon and smiling," she recalled. "I said, `Why are you smiling – I'm leaving you for Glenn.' He said, `Don't be ridiculous, you'll be back.'"
Cornelia bought a house in Toronto near Gould's penthouse apartment at 110 St. Clair Ave. W. and Avenue Rd.
In some ways, Gould and Foss made an odd couple. She, socialite artist in pearls; he, forever wearing a battleship grey expression, British driving cap and winter gloves – even in summer. Yet both were intense intellectuals into mind games.
She also fell for his sense of humour. One day he rolled on the floor laughing because the University of Toronto had started a course: "The Mind of Glenn Gould." "`Imagine how ridiculous!' he said. He wanted to go to a class, disguised in a wig, but he never did."
The couple took her kids on trips to hotels in Muskoka and spent a lot of time at Cornelia's house because Gould guarded his messy penthouse.
Those close to Gould say that, even before Cornelia, there were many groupies and a number of relationships with women, including an English piano student who tattooed the main theme from Gould's String Quartet on her back; a woman from Texas who said she was going to start shooting people at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Sts. if Gould didn't marry her; and the wife of a magazine editor who Gould said "gave me bad reviews because he was jealous."
But Marilyn Kecskes, the superintendent of Gould's building, said he brought precious few women to his apartment, which at the time was his studio for practising and writing.
"I don't know any woman who could have lived in that apartment with Mr. Gould – he was so terribly messy," Kecskes said.
Gould and Cornelia made a rare appearance together in 1967 at a private screening in New York for one of the television programs he had begun producing. "It was a different Glenn Gould that I saw during that day," Andrew Kazdin, Gould's record producer for 15 years, wrote in his book Glenn Gould at Work. "Instead of the self-absorbed centre of attention, I witnessed an attentive escort to Cornelia. `Was she comfortable?' `Could he get her anything?' There was no doubt that Cornelia Foss held a special place in his life."
Although she holds back some intimate details of their affair, Foss says Gould was very romantic.
Gould never talked about having children. "I was in my 30s by then and in those days it was considered too old to have children," Foss said. "Anyway, he had Christopher and Eliza and he was wonderful with them, playing puzzles and helping Chris with his math."
But Cornelia saw disturbing signs in Gould as early as 1967, just two weeks after she had left her husband.
Gould, she said, had a serious paranoid episode. "It lasted several hours and then I knew he was not just neurotic – there was more to it. I thought to myself, `Good grief, am I going to bring up my children in this environment?' But I stayed four and a-half years."
Foss did not discuss details, but others close to Gould said he was convinced someone was trying to poison him and that others were spying on him. There was no evidence of that, although other women sought him romantically and people tried to break into his mailbox (the screwdriver marks are still there).
The late psychiatrist Peter Ostwald, a violinist and friend of Gould, founded a health program for musicians and wrote the book Glenn Gould: The Ecstasy and Tragedy of Genius. Ostwald believed that Gould's personality, lifestyle and narcissism made it "unendurable" for any woman to live with him. According to the psychiatrist, who briefly treated Gould, he could be a control freak, inflexible and manipulative (although Gould could also at times be giving and sympathetic, friends said).
Cornelia was one of Gould's obsessions. "He'd tell me she did this, and she said that. He couldn't seem to get her out of his mind," said Dr. Joseph Stephens, a fellow pianist and professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Perhaps she filled a void for Gould after he quit a hectic schedule of public performances in 1964 because he considered audiences "evil" and distracting.
"He didn't like being showcased on stage," Cornelia said.
Gould once said during an interview, "All love relationships are addictive – just as much so as alcohol and tobacco." Indeed, Gould had a lot of addictions and obsessions – he often worked seven days a week, worried constantly about his body and his health, and ate just one meal a day – scrambled eggs at neighbouring Fran's Restaurant, usually in the middle of the night.
But he continued to play piano in recording and television studios and was a successful producer of radio and television documentaries. Away from the keyboard, Gould was as strange as ever, wearing winter clothes in summer and hankies over his face to shield himself from germs, as his overprotective mother had advised.
(During his years with Cornelia, Gould was estranged from both his parents, she said.)
Cornelia got so involved with nurturing him, her name was found on his pharmacy bills. Her care seemed to have a positive effect because at about that time, Gould told an interviewer that, as far as his health was concerned, those years were "the best of my life."
At Cornelia's house, the couple would sometimes invite friends and colleagues for dinner and corny games such as Twenty Questions. "It was a trial at domesticity," Ostwald said.
Certainly it was the longest relationship of its kind for the pianist, who usually balked at romance, according to the late Greta Krause, a pianist and harpsichordist, a friend of Gould and confidante to some of his female friends. "He could not accept love," she said. "I had the feeling that any expression of affection would cause him to panic."
Cornelia had her own distractions. A talented artist, she had to put her career on hold and she never painted Gould's portrait. "In those days, I didn't have the peace of mind to be able to paint. I was taking care of Glenn and Lukas and my two children," she said. "I went back to Buffalo for Lukas every weekend."
In Toronto, Gould and Foss looked at real estate and planned to buy a house if they married, but he refused to get treatment for his emotional problems, she said, "or even admit that he had them."
Many biographers claim that Gould never married because his mistress was music, but Foss calls that nonsense. "Apart from the paranoia, he would have been a good husband and father ... but his phobias got worse. He was just too ill."
Cornelia ended their affair in 1972, rejoining Lukas in New York, where he was appointed conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
But Gould didn't give up so easily, driving 950 kilometres to the couple's summer home in the ritzy Hamptons to convince her to return. That was out of character for Gould, who usually cut women off when they rejected him.
They were still in love, but Foss could not expose her children to Gould's phobias and paranoia any longer. "We talked in a bungalow on the beach and it was very painful for both of us," she recalled. "We still had strong feelings for one another and it was sad to see him in so much pain, and that I was part of that pain."
Even when she sent him home, Gould refused to give up hope and phoned Cornelia practically every night for two years, she said, until she finally convinced him to stop.
Gould became even more reclusive into his 40s. "People are as important to me as food," he grumbled. "As I grow older, I find I can do more and more without them ... monastic seclusion works for me."
Gould died of a stroke on Oct. 4, 1982, with anxiety and high blood pressure as possible contributing factors. About 3,000 people attended his funeral, but not Cornelia "because I didn't think it would be appropriate."
After his death, friends found a note by Gould, yearning for a woman he code-named Dell, which puzzled Gould's many biographers, some of whom believed it was fictitious. But they overlooked Cornelia's maiden name – Brendel. To this day, she seems uneasy with the note and doubts it is about her.
Now an art instructor known for her sea and landscape oils, Cornelia, 76, turned down an offer to have the note read to her."He was so private, he'd roll over in his grave, worrying that someone might find writings with his emotions on them," she said. Cornelia's daughter grew up to be an actress, her son a corporate strategist. And she takes care of Lukas, who has Parkinson's.
"Most of my life has been lucky," she told an art reviewer recently. "There's nothing sadder than to do something you don't want to do, or not knowing how to go about getting what you want."
- 30 -
Michael Clarkson, a former Toronto Star reporter, has written five psychology books, four on fears and phobias. He is now writing a screenplay involving Glenn Gould and can be reached at
© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2007
Cornelia Foss
Born in Berlin, Germany, Cornelia Foss spent her formative years studying with various sculptors and painters in Rome, including John Roden, Mirko Basaldella and Stephen Green, who was resident at the American Academy in Rome. After settling in Los Angeles, she studied at the Kann Art Institute with Rico Lebrun and Howard Warsaw.
In addition to the National Academy, Ms. Foss teaches at the Art Students League where she originated a lecture series featuring painters, art historians and critics of note, including Larry Rivers, April Gornick, David Rosand and Michael Kimmelman.
She had her first solo show at the Ferrus Gallery in Los Angeles and later exhibited at the James Goodman gallery, Buffalo, and is currently represented by the DFN Gallery, NYC, where she had a recent solo exhibition in May, 2005. Featured in numerous solo and group shows both nationally and internationally, her work is also featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, the National Museum for Women and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. among many other public and private collections.

24 August 2007

Michael Vick admits to murdering dogs, but says he never gambled on dogfights / animal bloodsports

The animal bloodsport bearbaiting, in which a trapped bear is set on by dogs. It was a popular sport in England until the 18th century. A modern English foxhunt begins; riders on horseback and a pack of foxhounds chase a wild fox to death. Below, a cockfight. Sharp metal talons are attached to each rooster's legs. Cockfighting is now outlawed in all 50 USA states, although Louisiana's ban will not go into effect for about a year.

The ancient Mariner earnestly entreateth the Hermit to shrieve him; and the penance of life falls on him.
And ever and anon through out his future life an agony constraineth him to travel from land to land;
And to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1797)

Shortly before the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal broke, Louisiana became the last USA state to ban the bloodsport of cockfighting -- but with a one-year delay to allow cockfighters time to try to soften the ban's financial loss. The next-to-last state to ban cockfighting was New Mexico.

In arranging to plead guilty to federal charges involving the pitbull dogfighting operation he and his friends ran, Vick apparently held out for the right not to have to admit to having gambled on the dogfights. Sports gambling is the ultimate taboo in the major US professional sports, one of the only acts which can trigger a lifetime playing ban. Vick and his lawyers believe or hold out hope that he can play pro football again after admitting to murdering dogs, as long as he didn't bet on them.

Some of the reader comments are racist. Some of the reaction to the Vick scandal among African-Americans is that the charges reflect an old, on-going use of the white-controlled criminal justice system to find any excuse to destroy any successful black American.

Small but visible rifts are showing in African-American opinion and response to the Vick mess. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference cancelled an invitation to have Vick appear at a convention as a role model to African-American youth. The Atlanta chapter (Vick plays for the Atlanta Falcons) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the USA's oldest and most prestigious black advocacy group, came to Vick's defense and issued a call for fairness; a few days later the national NAACP issued a statement clearly condemning animal cruelty, but conceeding a local chapter's right to have its own opinions.

Even animal cruelty and abuse are not simple political and social matters, particularly when a shadow of racism clouds them. Ultimately, however, love of animals cuts across all racial and ethnic barriers; it is among the deepest of all human instincts, and to my experience no "ethnic defense" of cruel animal practices has ever prevailed in any community or any such dispute or scandal. Black people are disgusted by cruelty to animals, white people are disgusted by cruelty to animals, and all sane and decent people take pride that in the last century, particularly in North America and Western Europe, societies and governments have moved toward protection of animals -- wild and domestic -- and away from cruelty, abuse and bloodsport.


The Chicago Tribune (Illinois USA)
Friday 24 August 2007

Vick admits to killing dogs


RICHMOND, Virginia -- Michael Vick admitted to attending dogfightings, funding the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation, and participating in the killing of dogs, in court documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Richmond this afternoon.

In the documents, signed by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and Newport News native, Vick says he provided "most of the 'Bad Newz Kennels' operation and gambling monies" but that he did not participate in the side bets that often accompanied the dogfights. He also did not receive any of the proceeds from the purses won during the fights.

He also admitted that he participated in the killing of six to eight dogs that didn't perform well in test fights by various methods, including hanging and drowning them.

"Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of Peace, Phillips and Vick," the documents said.

He also admitted to being aware of times that his co-defendants killed a number of dogs that performed poorly in test fights.

Media reports on Thursday had suggested that he would deny killing any dogs and deny any involvement in the gambling operation.

Vick's plea agreement, which is similar to those of his three codefendants, alludes to the football player spending a year to a year and a half in jail. If Vick "cooperates fully and truthfully," the prosecutors will recommend that he is sentenced "at the low end of the applicable guideline range," the agreement said.

Under the agreement, Vick must provide all information about the case to prosecutors.

He will also have to pay for the disposition of all pitbulls seized during an April search of his property, as part of the plea. Vick is scheduled to enter his guilty plea to a conspiracy charge related to dogfighting in U.S. District Court in Richmond before District Judge Henry E. Hudson Monday. Hudson will have the final say over Vick's sentence.

He will be the last of four codefendants to enter a guilty plea. Two of the codefendants Quanis Phillips, 28, and Purnell Peace, 35, pleaded guilty last week to federal dogfighting charges and said Vick had actively participated in killing dogs. The first codefendant Tony Taylor, 34, pleaded guilty on July 30.

The agreements of all four co-defendants tell the same gruesome story of Taylor, Phillips and Vick coming together in 2001 to start the dogfighting operation that would become Bad Newz Kennels, with Vick purchasing the Surry County property at 1915 Moonlight Road to serve as the operation's home base.

They also describe Vick and the others attending dogfights in different states, and hosting dogfights in Surry County with participants coming from New Jersey, the Carolinas and Maryland.

Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter has said he still intends to seek local charges against Vick.

- 30 -

Vick admits to killing dogs
Michael Vick has signed a plea agreement in which he admits killing six to eight dogs.

Showing posts 1 - 20 of 55

Dog Lover
Silver Spring, MD

Hang Vick according to Religious Doctrine..
An eye for an eye, a death for a death.

Columbus, OH

If Vick serves time, I hope they put him in one of the prisons where the inmates have been training puppies for service dogs-I'll bet they'd treat him the way other prisoners treat child molesters...

Santa Ana, CA

Now he is off to a resort style prison, where he will still get his **** kissed. Just cut this guy off. Make him get a 9-5 job like everyone else.

pitbull fighter
Tampa, FL

Just another classic Vick move. At Virginia Tech his only family cheered when the starting QB broke his leg and Vick got to play. Scum family, scum son.

Avon, CO

Piece of filth! Book him for all you can get.

Columbus, OH

I only hope that someday, someone will do to the four of you, what you have done to those dogs.

Sharon Hill, PA

This is no admission; this is a last resort. He knows that if he pleads to the gambling, he'll get banned from football for life. His story changes more than than my 2 year olds diaper. And it's just as foul!!!!

Gáldar, Spain

I think these people should have the highest jail sentence possible for cruelty to animals. They are too despicable for words. It is obvious that some people never have enough money to satisfy themselves.

too cool for school
Tampa, FL

Not only did they cheer and clap, they also said horrible things about the starting QB and how Vick deserved the position. This coming from one of the cousins that turned him in!
He deserves worse

Springfield, MA

I laugh when I hear that we should go easy on Vick because he made a mistake. Truth be told he made (at least) 8 of them in a barbaric, cold hearted, calculating manner. This wasn't one isolated case but more of snapshot of his lack of values. He is the worst kind of person. He has no humanity. He creates chaos and death for his own amusement. Scum.

Salt Lake City, UT

Vick, make up your mind. Celebrities in trouble. Which of the following celebrities has committed the worse offense? a) Paris b) Bill Murray c) Lindsay d) Mel Gibson e) Michael Vick f) Nicole Richie
Vote at

Christina Pacosz
Shawnee, KS

Finally, the truth from this supposed football star. Dogs are vulnerable creatures and this man apparently never knew that. How did he learn such evil then? Shame on the NAACP for supporting him. A clear message MUST be sent that abuse of animals and profiting from that abuse is against the law. Put Vick behind bars for the maximum and every state law he and the others violated needs to be prosecuted as well. Animal abuse is almost always linked to the abuse of children and others, including women. Down with the Michael Vicks of this world!

crazy jew
Phoenix, AZ

Those african americans are like animals anyway..

Charleston, SC

he's lying,why would anybody fight dogs and not bet on them.byebye ****

Madison, WI

Media reports on Thursday had suggested...

Vick notwithstanding, you media jerks (worse than used car salesmen) release inaccurate info so often that it's a wonder anyone can believe this latest report.

Vick should be fined, should do community service, should be under supervision for at least 2 years, and allowed to play football next year, so he has the money to pay dearly for what he did. EOM

jmills plant city fl
Plant City, FL

confiscate the property.

Portland, ME

Us niggahs is stupid

Lord Larry
Montréal, Canada

Two options, they fight dogs unarmed and naked or they fight each other,for our amusement and bets of course. I'd be totally cool with no jail time for whoever submits to this punishment.

San Jose, CA

He's finished. Bury him now.

jmills plant city fl
Plant City, FL

vick will be welcomed as a hero and a celebrity in prison. that's the way it is. those people don't see anything wrong with what he did. and i am sure that he himself does not see anything wrong with it either. people in prison seem to be sociopaths and only pretend to be like other people as it suits their needs. they do not really care what pain they cause.