arcana imperii :: the book of j


so he is

surely everyone has commented on lance bass being an out homosexualist now and probably simply asked, like i have: «well, aren't they all»? shame he never made it to space rainbow flag in tow. would have given a whole new meaning to planet out! surely a topical episode of south park is to follow. best wishes all round.


quotation of the week

shut it already!

«washington is the only place where sound travels faster than light.»
~cvr thompson



famous dead castrato brought out of retirement

Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli
the new scientist reports that the body of farinelli, the most famous and presumably greatest castrato opera singer, was exhumed on my birthday, 12 july, to learn how he achieved such dulcet tones.

nicholas clapton, curator of a london exhibition on castrati at the handel house museum. noted that «farinelli was more famous than madonna, johnny depp and david beckham combined».

his body, originally buried in 1782, is to be studied by researchers in italy to see how childhood castration, performed on prospective singers to stop their voices breaking, affected bone structure. a lack of testosterone should have limited the growth of the hyoid bone of the larynx, giving the castrati a child's voice, while the ribs should grow longer, making space for larger lungs with greater volume and sound control.



one more year

happy birthday, me!

«nos rivières
passent le temps
du pont d'la fièvre
aux quatre vents
où tout cet air
se fait plus lent
nos rivières
vont forcément
par ces pierres
vêtues de blanc
elles nous serrent
entre leurs dents
nos rivières
font nos enfants
et c'est la terre
qui nous les prend

vivez, jeunes gens
de cet air, de cet air
et de tout ce temps
vivez, vivez, vivez souvent
d'un jour où vivre,
c'est maintenant
d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant
d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant

nos rivières
croisent le chant
de pluies légères
et d'océans
sont-elles fières
ou simplement
nos rivières
d'eau et de sang...
nos rivières
d'eau et de sang

vivez, jeunes gens
de cette eau, de cette eau
et de tout ce sang
vivez, vivez, vivez souvent
d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant
d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant
vivez, vivez, vivez souvent...

nos rivières
font nos enfants
et c'est la terre
qui nous les prend

d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant
d'un jour où vivre, c'est maintenant
~isabelle boulay
[paroles: didier golemanas / musique: daniel seff]»


independence day: why the fourth?

though the fourth of july is almost iconic to americans, some claim the date itself is somewhat arbitrary. new englanders had been fighting britain since april 1775. the first motion in the continental congress for independence was made on 08 june. after hard debate, the congress voted unanimously (12-0), but secretly, for independence from the kingdom of great britain on 02 july. the congress reworked the text of the declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, 04 july, when thirteen colonies voted for adoption and released an unsigned copy to the printers. (new york abstained from both votes.) philadelphia celebrated the declaration with public readings and bonfires on 08 july. not until 02 august would a fair printing be signed by the members of the congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from british reprisal.

john adams, credited by thomas jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote his wife abigail on 03 july:
the second day of july, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of america. i am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. it ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to god almighty. it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
adams was off by two days, however. certainly, the vote on 02 july was the decisive act. but 04 july is the date on the declaration itself. jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the congress, was first adopted by the vote of the 4th. it was also the first day philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the continental congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.

note that despite the genesis of independence day, it is largely uncommon for americans to express anti-british sentiment on this day or to view it as a celebration of anti-colonialism. indeed, most americans today consider the united kingdom their greatest ally. rather than specifically as an opportunity to commemorate the end of british rule in the 18th century, contemporary americans generally perceive the holiday as a celebration of the USA. itself and the political values that motivated the united states declaration of independence, including explicit principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and implicit ones of democracy, liberty, freedom, and equality under the law.

happy birthday, america!

source: wikipedia.


«wild geese»

last night i watched the brilliant meryl streep read this poem in the PBS brodcast of the Prairie Home Companion season finale and Independence Day Special and i couldn't help imagining that it had been chosen just for me...

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~wild geese by mary oliver, winner of the Pulitzer Price
and the National Book Award for her poetry.