May 14, 2020

Michael was born 4 years later and still remembers the ruins

(Our friend Glenn sent this:)

Fragment, fragment...yes, here, cool, from Michael's essay, My Childhood Ruined, which tells about his youth in the suburb of Berlin-Grunewald:

Halfway experiences are also fairly common, I believe, and it took me some time to get over the shitty first sex of my teens, like when Amy, another classmate, him from Armenia, living alone with his father in one of the villas not bombed out, took me to the plot opposite his home which had been cleared of the rubble and grown into an orchard of sour apples with an undergrowth of stinging nettle—-and then suggested that we’d play doctor. We had barely started when Evelyn, whom I hated, and who was officially my friend, turned up and sent us scampering into the stinging nettle.

Fruit trees and cleared plots weren’t typical, however. Roughly half the splendid villas of the Grunewald, by reputation Berlin’s most residential area, had gotten hit by air raids during the war and burned down to black skeletons of eternal stone and reinforced concrete, with rusty steel rods sticking out and begging for accidents to happen like when you were chasing an Indian under fully-feathered headdress up to the fourth floor of the rubble and trip and fall to your death. Yes, fourth floor, or fifth even, since these structures had been built by the nouveau riche in the ’70 and ‘80’s of the nineteenth century when Berlin became the capital of the Second Reich. Falls from ruins never happened, though, or were never reported in the West-Berlin of the ‘50s, an insular place so devoid of news that nothing ever happened—-save for a world-shaking crisis when Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Communist World, threatened to take us by force and unclench WW3—-so the press had to play along and beg any visiting celebrity to confirm with his/her own eyes that—-yes—-Berlin was still the Hauptstadt, even though the government resided in Bonn and anything of consequence had decamped to Munich in Bavaria, including Siemens, the founder of local Siemensstadt (don’t ask).
How about the fruit trees, then? Well, if you’d trip while aiming your pistol at this Indian, you wouldn’t land on an apple tree, but on an Acacia. Nobody ever remarked on it, or explained it, but newly grown Acacias dominated the ruined plots, whole forests of them, until Khrushchev’s ultimatum was forgotten, investors regained confidence, and reconstruction got under way.

May 11, 2020

Plato's Symposium

Here's little Michael, done by David Cantero, posing--yes, that's the word--posing as Phaedrus, son of Pythocles, the first speaker in Plato's Symposium (each guest is supposed to give an encomium on EROS, the eponymous God of Love).

Just so that you know. I believe I should rather play one of the slaves, but anyhow.

Fragment, fragment. Here, from our script: 

PHAEDRUS (begins): Eros is a great and wonderful god…
PH: for he is one of the oldest gods. Hesiod says that Chaos came first---followed by Gaia, and Eros.

CAPTION: (Hesiod goes on) “…Eros, who is the most beautiful among the immortal gods. He is the dissolver of care who overpowers the mind and the thoughtful council of gods and humans alike.”
PH: Eros is also the source of the greatest benefits. I know of no greater blessing for a young man than to have a good lover, and for any lover, to have a proper beloved.
PH: The principle that must guide men who strive to live a noble life—-the principle of honor—-is best fostered by love, not by birth, money, or other means. Without this sense of honor, neither states nor individuals can ever do great work. 
PH: And, I say that a lover who is detected doing anything dishonorable, he will be more pained at being found out by his beloved than, say, by his father, or his companions. And the beloved, when he is found in a disgraceful situation, will feel likewise. 
[IMAGE: Sacred Band of Thebes]

PH: If there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their beloved, it is beyond imagination how well they could do, refraining from anything base, contending with each other in the pursuit of immortality, and exhibiting such valor in battle that—-even as a mere handful—-they could overcome the world.

Sacred Band of Thebes, random picture from the web

In this spirit, n'est-ce pas?

May 9, 2020

German for beginners: Grüne Augen by Michael Ampersant

Finally, folks, the GREEN EYES are out in a German translation with the DeadSoftPress. Have a look:

Michael Amperesant, Grüne Augen

May 5, 2020


We'll explain later, but we are working on Plato's Symposium again, and here we have a scene from Aristophanes' speech, the Council of the Gods pondering what to do with the uppity primordial humans:

Rafael: Council of the gods, cropped

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