Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

At the moment I am busy with a graphic novel from which I shall post one fable I have done. There are some 272 pages and is there a time limit?I am only concerned for the day in which I aim to do  two sheets. Of course it is not always kept up but to keep at it as far as possible. b

B-3B-4.jpg

Read Full Post »

last day in the month of January I was among friends of 61 years standing. It was a journey down the memory lane, Oh boy was I not glad to see playfellows with whom I lived as a boarder and learned to co-exist!

IMG_2757

Read Full Post »

Pi can be used to describe the geometry of the world.” says Chris Budd of the University of Bath in the UK, “We have to calculate it to very high precision for modern technology such as GPS to work at all.  He also has to add this,”I tell my students that if this formula doesn’t completely blow them away then they simply have no soul,”

The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle‘s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century. . It simply describes how the circumference of a circle varies with its diameter. The ratio of the two is a number called pi.

The mystery of Pi is the relationship an integral part on a two dimension can have with the whole. For example  Area of a circle can be calculated in which we know PI is a constant :A=πr2. This constant does not lose its power a whit even while we need think of the circle in another dimension. For example a sphere: Area of a sphere A=4πr2

This being the case doesn’t this constant speak of its mysterious hold past the dimensions in which we consider the circle? Suppose we introduce Man into this circle does it not define his position in terms of the circle as a shape? The Vitruvian Man with which we associate da Vinci, has Man with outstretched arms inscribed in a circle. Human activities thus are within circumscribed circles where the constant PI holds true.

Pi is roughly 3.14, but not exactly: pi is an irrational number, meaning the digits go on forever without repeating and never repeating itself. This continuity is the flux that has a relevance to the whole. Let us look at history itself. Julius Caesar in his Gallic Wars  writes about the people of Helvetii. These tribes finding they were constrained geographically and ever in a conflict with their Eastern neighbours had to do something. They decided to search for better territories to settle down. They burnt down their villages and fanned out. This diaspora put all the European tribes agog. Each tribe wanted a piece of the action. It is thus man is seized by a constant that has been built in,- and must explain the stuff history is made of. We consider history is made by man but there is a constant which never repeats itself since all the nations are all drawn into the pull and push of the general equation. Pax Romana thus will never repeat as was before neither will caliphate as was in the middle ages.

Background:

The first six digits of pi are 3.14159. It is called pi because π is the first letter of the Greek word “perimetros” or perimeter. But it was not the ancient Greeks who first discussed the value of pi. About 2000BC Mathematicians in the Babylonian Empire, had already figured out that pi was about 25/8, or 3.125. By about 1700 BC, in the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian mathematicians calculated pi to be about 3.16. Archimedes calculated that π was a little bigger than 3.1408 while the Chinese mathematician Liu Hui had calculated that pi was 3.141 (Ack: Wikipedia, quart.us/ BBC-earth/Melissa Hogenboom-20 January 2016)

benny

Read Full Post »

In order to have an insight as to how thin a veneer the cultural capital wore and its splendid cosmopolitan joie de vivre with which it dazzled every visitor, one need understand its denizens itself. The intellectual ferment the city carried was no more a mask than the narrow provincialism it concealed: the masses were held in check by their fractured social affiliations. Of the many institutions there was nothing to cement these into one. The Right, Centrist, the Left, anti-clerical and anti-monarchial all these on the petri dish of national politics were manifestation of provincialism, each vying with one other. It would reveal itself periodically in startling fashion. L’affaire Dreyfus for example. The many newspapers each representing its narrow interests made them all the more fractious.

Despite the Great Revolution of 1789 and adopting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the nation was haunted by monarchial ambitions for which the Right and the Church had insidiously worked; the Army also had its secret clubs to promote their own narrow interests. Such divisiveness would lead ultimately to the collapse of the republic. Apart from these there was a shadow of the Man on the Horseback, some military adventurer literally emulating the Eagle. The glory days of Napoleon had given the Army a hapless duty to preserve the gloire at any cost. In the unjust framing of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, the role of the Army would prove to be a dubious one. France was a divided nation and its social structure carried over the thrusts and retreats of various institutions, like a body seeking its balance by a fever of sorts. For the bourgeoisie the intellectual life of Paris was distant and far removed from their own realities.

The French are noted for their Gallic spirit. They were volatile, energetic and ever unruly. There were lots of peasant and urban revolts under the ancien regime but these did not break into a sustained conflagration as it did in 1789. When their ire was up their cruelty would surpass anything, as in the case of the storming of Bastille. In this they would capture the hapless governor whose head they cut off with a pocket knife and would impale on a pike. The guillotine was touted as humane capital punishment (like ‘a cool breath on the back of the neck’ according to its inventor, Dr. Joseph I. Guillotine). Its claim however was lost in the many thousands of victims needlessly sent to death in a general atmosphere of savagery and blood lust.)

Being volatile their attention from pressing issues of the day wandered and did not mend matters.

The city was a hotchpotch of separate quartiers, each insulated from one other from which inhabitants seldom ventured forth. A cab ride cost about the equivalent of a workman’s daily wages, and the poorer you were, the more quartier bound you were likely to be; many a workman’s child grew to adolescence before World War I without getting out of Ménilmontant or Belleville. In the movie Les Enfants du Paradis there is a scene in which Garance relives to Baptiste (whom she had just met) her indigent youth in Ménilmontant. Along the way pointing to it she adds, ‘(At fifteen) anyone who has grown up too fast doesn’t stay alone very long.’ Only alternative for girls like her was to become a demimondaine in the city of Paris.

Prostitution was all pervasive for girls with no means of family, talent or support. Young men fared no better. Those who dared to break the restraints of the provincial life needed entirely an altogether temper to make it rich in the city of Paris. Most commodity a yokel could bring along was his stolidity of his forebears and those who jettisoned all those values and relied on wits made it to the top like Balzac’s character Eugene de Rastigniac. The other side of the coin bears the image of Lucien Rubempré.

As Balzac would say, ‘….The streets of Paris have human qualities… and some of them like the Rue Montmartre are like mermaids-lovely heads, but fishtails at the extremity.’ The fashion of the City of lights dazzled and at the other end dirt roosted permanently. Not only when servants throw peelings and offals out the windows to annoy the concierge but in the general lack of amenities. The sordid haunted all sides of life. At the time of the Revolution the Place de la Bastille,on the edge of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine was then a warren of tenements, craft shops all fetid with unwashed men and women while at the Palais Royale, its arcades and apartments filled with bistros, gambling and bawdy houses. Here the 30,000 prostitutes plied their trade among its 650,000 inhabitants. The model of the bourgeois apartment house of that is the centre of Zola’s Pot-Bouille, reveals no taps or sinks, let alone lavatories.

( Merle Severy-The Great Revolution/NG-July 1989)

Read Full Post »

Paris, in Balzac’s words ‘is a sentient being’. If you need understand its sense of being one need only have entered into one of its houses in the early nineteenth- century Paris. Different classes and degrees of affluence might well be housed in the same building; only a subtle hint clued you in: higher you climbed you were entering a world of its own something out of Dante’s inferno. For every casual visitor again to quote Balzac, ‘Paris is still the same monstrous miracle, as astounding assemblage of movements, machines and ideas, the city of thousand different romances, the world’s thinking voice.’

Paris in the fin de siècle for all the restless movements must not have imagined it was standing on the rim of a crater and the beguiling way of living was merely a mood; despite swirling in a whirligig of ideas and fads the city would soon be swallowed up by the events of 1914. As such the good old days of Paris mark socially as well as culturally  a distinct social phenomenon called La Belle Époque.

France had much to be proud about. The nations industrial, scientific and cultural advances would be showcased by the International Exposition of 1900 and the Eifel Tower was its jewel in the crown. A million visitors ascended the Tower, which was completed 11 years before, all blissfully forgotten of its scathing reception during its erection (‘A ghastly dream’ it was called in 1887; Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day because it was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible.)

On April, 14,1900 at four in the afternoon a balloon rose from the Tuileries Garden while 15,000 Parisians watched the cameraman who filmed the city for the coming Cinéorama, to be screened at the Exhibition that was due to open on the Left Bank.

The city was remodeled in the 1850s during the Empire Days by Baron Haussmann and had survived great many upheavals since then( the Commune of 1871 and Metro, whose first line opened to coincide with the Exhibition) and was the pleasure ground for two and a half million people. Symptomatic of the grand vision of the city everything was gigantic: the Ferris wheel 350 feet high, could carry 1,600 people at a time; The President of the Third Republic threw a party for 20,000 of mayors who were served by waiters on roller skaters. The guide to the Exposition called the century ending ‘the most fertile in discoveries, the most prodigious in sciences’, that the world had had known and it spoke of a revolution in the economic order of the universe.’

In summer 1913, a party of San Francisco boy scouts passed through the city, and Le Figaro newspaper ran a survey – what had struck them the most?

Apart from the monuments and the gardens, they loved the trees lining the streets, and the general cleanliness. They thought the red trousers worn by soldiers most impressive, but it was odd how many young men wore moustaches and how many women smoked.

They loved the way policemen still wore swords, the dog barbers by the Seine, the glorious outdoor cafes. At the opera, one young American stared at the women “pivoting on their high heels, offering a fine view of their resplendent gowns and jewels”. This was Paris on the eve of war. Just doing what it did. Typical of the city, a thinking box, merely skirted the past, living for the moment. (Balzac quote is from his novel-Ferragus)( To be continued)

 

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

The passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act led to creation of NRA (National Recovery Administration) which crowned the work of the Hundred Days. Thus within 3 months of his accession to the Presidency he had redeemed the pledge to act for the plain people. The Right wingers condemned ‘the New Dole.’ An enraged Judge complained that ‘King Franklin was playing tiddlywinks with the entire universe.’ ‘Roosevelt’s program’, wrote historian Samuel Elliot Morrison, ‘was a new deal of old cards, no longer stacked against the common man.’

Impervious to attacks FDR went on with his programs. On Dec, 5 Prohibition, a major source of violence, crime and political corruption was repealed. The passage of the Social Security Act on Aug, 14,’35 made it obligatory on Federal Government ‘to provide its citizens, a measure of protection from the hazards and vicissitudes of life.’

America was preoccupied with domestic recovery and overwhelmingly opposed to involving in European affairs.

His success owed to his utter mastery of the art of politics. He met the Press twice a week in a sporting free give and take atmosphere. Besides he reached millions of homes via radio, explaining his programs in a reassuring voice that calmed as well inspired the listeners.

When crossed he was formidable  and ruthless. He pursued an almost overt policy of divide and rule, pitting one of his trusted lieutenants against another, thus assuring himself of ultimate control of his cabinet. Though crippled and confined to his wheelchair he stood ten feet tall in the mind of his nation.

At the end of his first term he could claim  ‘a strong government had met the crisis and solved it.’

Inaugurated for the second time on Jan 30,1937 he had to confront the Supreme Court which had cut down many of the New Deal Legislation. His proposed court packing plan with the right to appoint one new Justice to replace the one who refused to retire six months after reaching the age of seventy was defeated.

From New Deal his term in office saw America’s increasing involvement in world affairs.

His third term is noted for his ‘Four Essential Freedoms’. He formulated a  national emergency Lend-Lease that extended even to Stalin who was embroiled in fighting the Nazism.He affirmed Anglo-American solidarity,proclaimed the Atlantic Charter that would pave way for the UN .

Roosevelt faced a bitter campaign in his bid for the Fourth term in office. In 1944 he chose Harry S. Truman for his running mate. By the time he called for the Yalta conference he was a shadow of his old self and ravaged by ill-health. On April,10 1945 while sitting for a portrait he was felled by a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died.

Benny

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,735 other followers