Saturday, October 31, 2015

Important Neglected Artists, No. 18

George de Forest Brush (1855 - 1941) was an American painter. In collaboration with his friend, the artist Abbott H. Thayer, he made contributions to military camouflage, as did his wife, aviator and artist Mary (called Mittie) Taylor (Whelpley) Brush, and their son, the sculptor Gerome Brush.
Although Brush was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, his parents, Nancy (Douglas) and Alfred Clark Brush, were New Englanders, and he grew up in Danbury, Connecticut. He attended the National Academy of Design in New York, and also studied in Paris under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where Thayer was also a student.

He returned from Paris in 1880, and soon after accompanied his brother on a business excursion to Wyoming. He remained in that part of the country for some months, and lived among various Native Americans, including Arapahoes, Crows and Shoshones. When he returned East, he developed a series of paintings derived from his drawings of Indian life. In the early 1880s, some of these were published in prominent periodicals, such as Harper’s Weekly and Century Magazine, sometimes as illustrations for his own eyewitness accounts. Even years later, he still enjoyed living occasionally in a tepee. It was partly because of such “wildness” that his future in-laws refused to approve of his marriage to their daughter, née Mittie Taylor Whelpley, which took place by elopement in 1886.

Around the same time period, the subjects of Brush’s paintings evolved from heroic depictions of Indian life to Renaissance-inspired portraits, some of which were modeled by his wife and his children. Among his many awards were gold medals at the Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893), Exposition Internationale (Paris, 1900), Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, 1901), and Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904). He was elected to the Society of American Artists, the National Academy of Design (1908), and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1910).

Brush and his family often spent the summer in Dublin, New Hampshire, where there was a thriving artist's colony, and where they eventually settled. Among the other residents was Thayer, who was intensely interested in protective coloration in nature or what later became known as camouflage.
According to Brush’s daughter, as early as 1898 Brush and Thayer worked together on devising ways to use natural camouflage principles for military purposes.For example, they suggested that counter-shading (a natural protective device that Thayer had discovered in 1896) could be used as a way of reducing the visibility of a ship. This was later patented (by Thayer and Gerome Brush) as U.S. Patent No. 715013, “Process of Treating the Outside of Ships, etc., For Making Them Less Visible”.

In 1916, Brush acquired a small Morane-Borel monoplane (also known as a Morane-Saulnier). He experimented with the possibility of making its wings and fuselage transparent, to reduce its visibility. His wife, who was an early woman aviator, also addressed the problem of airplane camouflage, as shown by her various patents.

Brush died in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1941. Nearly thirty years later, his eldest daughter, a painter and theatre designer named Nancy Douglas Bowditch, published a vivid account of his life. Brush is also well known as the "grandfather" of American art pottery. Having been inspired by the American Pueblo artisans, and learning their craft, he brought these techniques to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and more importantly Long Island and Manhattan, New York, where he started The Brush Guild Pottery Foundation. His students were mostly females, who would later go on to create decorative household works, jars with lids, urns and such. Many depicted animal stylings (bulls, cows, lions). He was also a personal friend of Author Mark Twain, whom he visited many times. He was a world traveler. His oil paintings (specifically of Indians, from the period 1888–1900) were important influences on the young illustrator N. C. Wyeth. Observe the similarities in shapes and symbols in his painting Mourning her Brave and Wyeth's Winter  He led a fascinating life and was an important force in the arts at the turn of the 20th century.

His great-grandson is Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee.

George de Forest Brush

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Paintings by George de Forest Brush

The Moose Chase


A Family Group


Indian Hunter

The Little Cavalier

Indian and the Lily


Water Carrier

Laying Away a Brave



Lexophile Competion

A lexophile is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish", or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless." A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an undisclosed location. This year's winning submission is posted at the very end.

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When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate. 

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. 

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A. 

The batteries were given out free of charge. 

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. 

A will is a dead giveaway. 

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. 

A boiled egg is hard to beat. 

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall. 

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest. 

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?   He's all right now. 

A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired. 

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered. 

He had a photographic memory which was never developed. 

When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it. 

The Winning Entry

Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.


An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory. Oxymorons appear in a variety of contexts, including inadvertent errors (such as "ground pilot") and literary oxymorons crafted to reveal a paradox. The word oxymoron is derived from the 5th century Latin: oxymorus, oxymōrus which is derived from the Ancient Greek: ὀξύς oksús meaning "sharp, keen, pointed"  and μωρόςmōro meaning "dull, stupid, foolish" Thus, the word oxymoron is an oxymoron itself.

Below are some examples of Oxymorons.

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?
2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?
3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever  know?
4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?
6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same  thing?
8 . Why do "tug" boats push their barges?
9. Why do we sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" when we are already there?
10. Why do we called them "stands" when they are made for sitting?
11. Why is it called "after dark" when it is really is "after light"?
12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?
14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?
15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?
16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?
17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?
18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?
20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?
21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when
you know the batteries are dead?
22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?
23. Why is the word "abbreviated" such a long word?
24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?
25. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?
27. Christmas. What other time of the year do you sit in front of a
dead tree and eat candy out of a socks?
28. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Knowledge Quiz, No. 60

I dislike the term trivia. No knowledge is trivial. All information contributes to the whole of an intelligent human being. And, it is an essential part of critical thinking. That is why I did not call this a Trivia Quiz. Instead, I am calling it a Knowledge Quiz.

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Knowledge Quiz, No. 60
The answers are at the bottom.

1. What is the only bird in the world with just two toes on each foot?
2. What is the deepest lake in the world?
3. What country is the world's leading producer of orange juice?
4. In what city is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located?
5. What does an ornithologist study?
6. What is the only bird on the Chinese calendar?
7. What Christopher Columbus ship ran aground and had to be abandoned?
8. According to the legend, through which city did Lady Godiva ride naked?
9. How many pounds are there in a standard U.S. ton?
10. How much did the United States spend per acre to purchase Alaska?
11. The Canary Islands are named after what animals?
12. Brigham Young was a leader of which religious group?
13. How many hearts does an octopus have?
14. The chemical symbol pb stands for what?
15. What is the fastest growing fingernail?
16. What continent is divided into the most countries?
17. What famous artist works have been stolen more than any other painter?
18. What is the deepest ocean trench in the world?
19.  In the wireless phone abbreviation 4G, what does the "G" stand for?
20. What military leader is credited as saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered"?

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1. The ostrich is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 43 mph., the fastest land speed of any bird. The bird has just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the nail on the larger, inner toe resembling a hoof. The outer toe has no nail. The reduced number of toes is an adaptation that appears to aid in running, useful for getting away from predators. The ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs).

2. Lake Baikal  is the deepest lake in the world. It is a rift lake in Russia, located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast. Lake Baikal is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water. With a maximum depth of 5,387 feet, Baikal is the world's deepest lake. It is considered among the world's clearest lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake at 25 million years. It is the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area. It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

3. Brazil is the largest orange juice producing nation in the world, and production is located primarily in the state of São Paulo, which accounts for approximately 80% of Brazil's production. Brazil produces about one in every two glasses of orange juice consumed in the world today. Adequate climate conditions and a large number of producers are some of the factors that help to sustain Brazil's position as market leader.

4. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way, influenced the music industry through the genre of rock music. Cleveland lobbied for the museum, citing that  radio station WJW disc jockey Alan Freed both coined the term "rock and roll" and heavily promoted the new genre of music and that Cleveland was the location of Freed's Moondog Coronation Ball, the first major rock and roll concert.

5. Ornithology is the scientific study of birds. The origins of the word ornithology come from the Greek ornithologos and late 17th-century Latin ornithologia meaning "bird science". An ornithologist is someone who studies ornithology, the branch of science devoted to birds. Ornithologists study every aspect of birds, including bird songs, flight patterns, physical appearance, and migration patterns. The information ornithologists gather is used to better understand how birds function, and to learn how birds relate to their natural environment.

6. The Rooster is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Rooster is tenth in the Chinese zodiac. Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year cycle. Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029. In Chinese culture, another symbolic meaning this animal carries is exorcising evil spirits.

7. Christopher Columbus had three ships on his first voyage, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. La Santa María was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. While exploring the islands now known as the West Indies, the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas Day 1492 and had to be abandoned. Columbus returned to Spain aboard the Nina, but he had to leave nearly 40 crewmembers behind to start the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad. When Columbus returned to the settlement in the fall of 1493, none of the crew were found alive.

Christopher Columbus

8. Lady Godiva, was an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to a legend dating back at least to the 13th century, rode naked – only covered in her long hair – through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom had watched her ride and was struck blind or dead. Coventry was the capital of England more than once in the 15th century when the seat of Government was held in Coventry. Coventry's heritage includes the Roman Fort at Baginton, Lady Godiva, St Mary's Guildhall and three cathedrals.

Lady Godiva, painting by John Collier

9. The ton is a unit of measure. It is used principally as a unit of mass. Its original use as a measurement of volume has continued in the capacity of cargo ships and in terms such as the freight ton. In the United States, a ton is defined to be 2,000 pounds. But, a metric ton has a different weight.  A metric ton is 2200 pounds.

10. The man in charge of that initial Alaskan land buy was Secretary of State William H. Seward who bought the land for $7 million, or about two cents an acre. Seward and President Andrew Johnson took plenty of heat for the purchase, which earned the nicknames "Seward's Folly" and "Seward's Icebox." But, when people found gold and later oil in the fields of Alaska, people were not critical anymore.

11. The Canary Islands is said to be derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning "Islands of the Dogs." According to historians, the Mauretanian king Juba II named the island Canaria because it contained "vast multitudes of dogs of very large size". Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, Guanches, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs generally as holy animals. The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms. What is certain is that the name of the islands does not derive from the canary bird; rather, the birds are named after the islands.

Canary Islands Coat of Arms

12. Brigham Young was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement. After the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, Young was chosen leader of the Mormons and continued as president until his death in 1877. He directed the migration of 16,000 Mormons from Illinois to Utah from 1856 to 1852. He founded Salt Lake City and he served as the first governor of the Utah Territory. Young also led the founding of the precursors to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Brigham Young

13. An octopus has three hearts. Two branchial hearts pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third keeps circulation flowing for the organs. These two smaller hearts function much like the right side of the human heart. They pump oxygen-depleted blood to the gills, where it exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen, and then pump this refreshed blood to the systemic heart. The systemic heart then propels this new oxygenated blood throughout the octopus's body, just like the left side of the human heart! Octopuses also have blue blood. To survive in the deep ocean, octopuses evolved a copper rather than iron-based blood called hemocyanin, which turns its blood blue.

14. Pb comes from the Latin word plumbum and is the chemical symbol for lead. Lead is a soft, malleable and heavy post-transition metal. Lead has a shiny chrome-silver luster when it is melted into a liquid. It is also the heaviest (has the highest atomic number) non-radioactive element. Contrary to popular belief, pencil leads in wooden pencils have never been made from lead. Most of the lead used today is used in the production on lead-acid storage batteries, such as the batteries found in automobiles.

15. On average, fingernails grow about one tenth of an inch in a month. However, not all fingernails grow at the same rate. The fastest growing nail is the one on your middle finger. The middle finger is the third digit of the human hand, located between the index finger and the ring finger. It is usually the longest finger. The slowest growing nail is your thumb nail. Freshly cut nails grow faster than nails that aren't cut regularly.

16. There are 54 recognized countries in Africa, and one disputed territory being Western Sahara. South Sudan is the planet's newest country, which brings Africa's total to 54. It is the hottest continent and home of the world's largest desert, the Sahara, occupying the 25% of the total area of Africa. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, Africa accounts for about 15% of the world's human population.

17. Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (aka: Pablo Picasso; 1881-1973) holds the record for works that have been stolen more than those of any other artist. His mark of 1,147 According to the Art Loss Register, as of 2012, 1,147 by Picasso have been stolen. That is more than twice that of second place artist on the list. It was Picasso who supposedly said, "good artists borrow, great artists steal."

Pablo Picasso

18. Located in the Pacific ocean in Japan, the Mariana Trench is the deepest opening in the earth's crust at 35,787 feet. Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain at 29,035 feet, could easily fit inside. The deepest point in the trench is called the Challenger Deep. The depression is named after the British Royal Navy survey ship HMS Challenger, whose expedition of 1872–1876 made the first recordings of its depth.

19. 4G, short for fourth generation, is the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology, succeeding 3G. The nomenclature of the generations generally refers to a change in the fundamental nature of the service. New mobile generations have appeared about every ten years since the first move from 1981 analogue (1G) to digital (2G) transmission in 1992. This was followed, in 2001, by 3G multi-media support, followed by 4G.

20. "Veni, vidi, vici"; ("I came, I saw, I conquered.") is a Latin phrase popularly attributed to Julius Caesar, who used the phrase in a letter to the Roman Senate around 46 B.C. after he had achieved a quick victory in his short war against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. The phrase is used to refer to a swift, conclusive victory. Variations of the sentence "Veni, vidi, vici" are often quoted, and also used in music, art, literature, and entertainment.

Image of Julius Caesar

The Truth About Who Is To Blame For The Creation Of ISIS

(hint: George Bush, and his lapdog, Tony Blair)

Finally, an insider tells the truth about why there is ISIS and an Islamic State. It was one of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s mea culpas in his CNN interview. It stands out as partial acknowledgment that without the Iraq war there would be no Islamic State or ISIS. Until now, Blair has refused to link the two, insisting instead in the lead-up to the war that sending western troops would deny jihadis an arena and prevent Saddam Hussein from using them as proxies in his standoff with the west.

The 12 years since have constantly disproved both claims. Within six months of both American and British troops landing in Iraq, the British Special Air Service (SAS) was sent to Baghdad’s western outskirts to attack jihadis who had taken up residence in Ramadi. Back then, they were a mob of foreigners and Iraqis who fed off a broad Sunni discontent fuelled by the invasion; a vanguard that not long afterwards organized into al-Qaida in Iraq, then the Islamic State of Iraq and, since mid-2013, ISIS.

Throughout all its incarnations, the group’s grievances have been largely consistent. Central to them is the belief that the invasion destroyed a regional order, ousting a stalwart of Sunni rule, and inviting the rival Shia sect to take over. The sense of loss was profound, with many Sunnis passionately believing that the U.S. and Britain must have known exactly what they were doing.

These views, formed along contemporary fault lines of power and patronage, drove a widespread Sunni resistance, a mix of non-ideologues enraged by losing jobs, status and dignity, and others, like the jihadis, who believed the war had been preordained in Islamic prophecies. As Iraq unraveled, the latter began to hold sway just as later happened in Syria.

Rightly or wrongly, the Sunnis of the region have come to believe that Blair’s decision to join George Bush’s war was the start of a historical pivot towards Iran and the restoration of Persian hegemony. They hold up a litany of developments to support their claim, including de-Ba’athification (the Ba’ath party headed by Saddam), which was aimed at eliminating Saddam’s influence, but also became a tool of repression against Sunnis, as well as the installation of Iraqi leaders who hailed from Shia supremacist backgrounds.

Perhaps even more directly relevant to Sunni grievances and the rise of ISIS, was the US-run prison system, which started with rampant abuses at Abu Ghraib and evolved into mass detention, albeit of both major sects. Sunni jihadis said the prison system was their most effective organizing tool.
A senior ISIS commander told the Guardian newspaper that without the Camp Bucca facility in southern Iraq (in which he and most of the senior leadership that were at one point detained), there would be no ISIS today. “It made it all, it built our ideology,” he told the Guardian last December, “We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else,” he said. “It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred meters away from the entire al-Qaida leadership.”

As Iraq sank into chaos from early 2005, sectarian positions steadily hardened. Sunni militants, though battered in 2006 when Iraqi tribal leaders joined US troops in fighting them, were tamed for a time but never defeated. In the years since 2011, when US troops left, and in the wake of the Arab spring, Isis was able to feed off grievances that had remained unresolved since the British and US armies rolled north from Basra eight years earlier. The jihadis’ rallying call that British and US-led aggression caused all of this still resonates broadly, far beyond their constituency.

A sense of loss, enduring indignity and injustice on one hand, and helping to restore lost glories on another are a potent double act for Isis, which openly hails 2003 as its raison d’etre. It remains just as much of a unifying principle now as it was back then. Events ever since in Syria and Lebanon, where Iran is ascendant militarily and politically have if anything given it even wider appeal. This would not have happened if the Iraq war had not been launched.

In Baghdad, Jihad Mohanned, a Sunni resident from the west of the city, said Blair’s acknowledgment was “so obvious it’s surprising he bothered to speak”. He added: “It really isn’t possible to come to any other conclusion. Without the invasion, we would not have ISIS. It’s crystal clear.”

What motivated Blair to admit at this time what a considerable number of people already believed was true, that George Bush and Tony Blair were directly responsible for the de-stabilizing the Middle-East and as a consequence, the creation of ISIS?  Blair is attempting to prepare the ground for the publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war in the U.K. by offering a qualified apology for the use of misleading intelligence and the failure to prepare for the aftermath of the invasion. Ironically, The prime culprits who created the lies that led to the Iraq war, President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney (who still maintains that war in Iraq was justified and there were weapons of mass destructions in Iraq) have never been the subjects of inquiries in the U.S.
Blair, who will in advance of the publication of the report be aware of what Sir John Chilcot is planning to say about him in the long-awaited report, moved to pre-empt its criticisms. In the CNN interview. Blair said. “I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong. I also apologize for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”

But, Blair made clear that he still felt he made the right decision in backing the US invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. He said: “I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam.” Apparently, he also finds it very hard to apologize for the aftermath of the removal of Saddam, the destabilizing of Iraq, the destabilizing of the entire middle East and subsequent creation of both ISIS and the Islamic State.

Blair also made light of the claims that he should stand trial on war crimes charges and defended his policy of what he used to describe as liberal interventionism. He contrasted what he described as “my ‘crime’”, the removal of Saddam and the civil war in Syria. He said, “We have stood back and we, in the west, bear responsibility for this - Europe most of all. We’ve done nothing. That’s a judgment of history I’m prepared to have.” 

Blair’s office sought to downplay the significance of the CNN interview, part of a program called Long Road to Hell: America in Iraq. A spokeswoman said: “Tony Blair has always apologized for the intelligence being wrong and for mistakes in planning. He has always also said, and says again here, that he does not however think it was wrong to remove Saddam.” She added: “He did not say the decision to remove Saddam in 2003 ‘caused ISIS’ and pointed out that ISIS was barely heard of at the end of 2008, when al-Qaida was basically beaten. He went on to say in 2009, Iraq was relatively more stable. “What then happened was a combination of two things: there was a sectarian policy pursued by the government of Iraq, which were mistaken policies. But also when the Arab spring began, Isis moved from Iraq into Syria, built themselves from Syria and then came back into Iraq. All of this he has said before.”

Meanwhile, Sir John Chilcot is facing renewed pressure over his inquiry into the Iraq war following the emergence of a leaked White House memo that appears to prove Tony Blair backed military action a year before seeking a vote in parliament. The document shows a contrast between Blair’s public position in early 2002 that he was not proposing military action and the private opinion of the US that the British prime minister would “follow our lead”.

The White House memo for former president George W Bush says: “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary. He is convinced on two points; the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success.” The note from Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, in March 2002 tells Bush that Blair would “present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause”. It added that Blair had the presentational skills to “make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace”.

The note obtained by the U. K. newspaper, Daily Mail, was written before the Crawford summit meeting between Bush and Blair, who has always denied the two countries were on an unstoppable path to war at that point. There were however contemporary newspaper reports that Blair had decided war in Iraq was inevitable. At the time, Blair said: “This is a matter for considering all the options. We’re not proposing military action at this point in time.”

A further note written in April 2002 draws on information given to the US by a Labour MP, whose name is redacted. He writes, “A sizeable number of his [Blair’s] MPs remain at present opposed to military action against Iraq ... some would favor shifting from a policy of containment of Iraq if they had recent (and publicly usable) proof that Iraq is developing WMD/missiles ... most seem to want some sort of UN endorsement for military action. Blair’s challenge now is to judge the timing and evolution of America’s Iraq policy and to bring his party and the British people on board. There have been a few speculative pieces in the more feverish press about Labor [sic] unease re Iraq policy … which have gone on to identify the beginnings of a challenge to Blair’s leadership of the party."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Narcissus, Narcissism and the Narcissus Flower

 The Narcissus Myth

In Greek mythology, Narcissus (Greek: Narkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. His name is of uncertain origin and etymology. He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who happened to love him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus drowned. Narcissus is the origin of the term  narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance.

Тhe myth of Narcissus has inspired artists for at least two thousand years, even before the  Roman poet Ovid featured a version in book III of his Metamorphoses. It was followed in more recent centuries by other poets (e.g. Keats and Alfred Edward Housman), by painters (e.g. Caravaggio,  Poussin, Turner and Waterhouse), in literature (e.g. Housman, Faulkner, Hesse, Gide) and in films and music.

 Narcissus by  Caravaggio

Narcissus by John William Waterhouse

Narcissus by Benczur

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. 

Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was introduced in Sigmund Freud's essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has had the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968. However, the concept of excessive selfishness has been recognized throughout history. In ancient Greece the concept was understood as hubris. It is only in recent times that it has been defined in psychological terms.

Narcissism is also considered a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in some self-report inventories of personality such as the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory. It is one of the three dark personality traits. The two others are psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person's or group's relationships with self and others. But, narcissism is not the same as egocentrism.

The Narcissus Flower

The narcissus flower is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants in the amaryllis family. It is known by various common names including daffodil and jonquil. The narcissus has conspicuous flowers with six petal-like tepals surmounted by a cup or trumpet shaped corona. The flowers are generally white or yellow with either uniform or contrasting colored tepals and corona.

The narcissus were well known in ancient civilization, both medicinally and botanically. The genus arose sometime in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene epochs, in the Iberian peninsula and adjacent areas of southwest Europe. The exact origin of the name Narcissus is unknown, but it is often linked to a Greek word for intoxicated (narcotic) and the myth of the youth of that name who fell in love with his own reflection.

Historical accounts suggest narcissi have been cultivated from the earliest times, but became increasingly popular in Europe after the 16th century and by the late 19th century were an important commercial crop centered primarily on the Netherlands. Today narcissi are popular as cut flowers and as ornamental plants in private and public gardens.

Narcissi produce a number of different alkaloids, which provide some protection for the plant, but may be poisonous if accidentally ingested. This property has been exploited for medicinal use in traditional healing and has resulted in the production of galantamine for the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia