Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Global Orgasm Solstice, From Daily rEvolution

Hey everybody, want a holiday on which there can be no "war"? Something that everyone—even Bill O'Reilly—can celebrate in their own way, alone or with significant other(s)? Here it is, today: welcome to Global Orgasm Day. Yep, and now you know what G-O-D really means!

Kind of makes you want to ignore the rest of the news. But duty also calls: Remember the Pfizer ad we posted a little while back, here? Well, check out what the geniuses at Pfizer had to choke up for their ex-CEO:

McKinnell's package, which the company disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, totals more than $180 million. It includes an estimated $82.3 million in pension benefits, $77.9 million in deferred compensation, and cash and stock totaling more than $20.7 million.

So make a note of whichever of the big P's products you're buying these days (and that's just the OTC stuff), and see if you can choose something else. I can't imagine trusting the health of my innards to a bunch of morons who would fork over $180M to some smarmy corporate con artist. Meanwhile, somebody get me a soma.

Now, to the really big news of the day. If you want to see the title of Book 7 of the Harry Potter series, click and drag over the white space between the lines below. But if you'd like to find out for yourself, go to Ms. Rowling's site, click the eraser, and start the journey. Hint: you'll know you're almost there when you start feeling like Saddam. I'll give you until after the holiday to check it out, and next week we'll start to consider what it all might mean.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Friday Reflection

Whenever I begin to suspect that all the truly great writers are all dead, I pick up one of this lady's works. Our banner quote for the week (reproduced below) is from Holy the Firm, a tiny masterpiece (it's all of 76 pages long) from 1977.

The works of God made manifest? Do we really need more victims to remind us that we're all victims? Is this some sort of parade for which a conquering army shines up its terrible guns and rolls them up and down the streets for the people to see? Do we need blind men stumbling about, and little flamefaced children, to remind us what God can—and will—do?

If you have a cell of poetry in your being (you've got plenty more than that, whether you're aware of it or not), this book is worth reading, and then reading again. Many of you probably know Dillard from a truly diamond-like book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. In books like Pilgrim and Holy, you can hear the singing of a unique voice of our time, a voice of whom none less than Eudora Welty wrote, "A reader's heart must go out to a young writer with a sense of wonder so fearless and unbridled..."

Let's have another selection from Holy The Firm, in which she comically compresses this Aristotelian notion of a primum materia:

These are only ideas, by the single handful. Lines, lines, and their infinite points! Hold hands and crack the whip, and yank the Absolute out of there and into the light, God pale and astounded, spraying a spiral of salts and earths, God footloose and flung. And cry down the line to his passing white ear, "Old Sir! Do you hold space from buckling by a finger in its hole? O Old! Where is your other hand?" His right hand is clenching, calm, round the exploding left hand of Holy the Firm.

I think it was Joseph Campbell who once said that writers, poets, and artists are the leaders of every age's most transformative cycles, the beacons to every bloodless revolution. I can sense such a voice in Annie Dillard, who teaches us that the artist is simply the medium for something else, whose name is elusive, personal, and infinite:

How can people think that artists seek a name? A name, like a face, is something you have when you're not alone. There is no such thing as an artist: there is only the world, lit or unlit as the light allows. When the candle is burning, who looks at the wick? When the candle is out, who needs it? But the world without light is wasteland and chaos, and a life without sacrifice is abomination.

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