Thanksgiving 2022

My reflections on the national holiday denominated Thanksgiving in the United States.

The concept seems beautiful.  A day on which to give thanks without asking for anything, just a general sense of gratitude directed at both our fellow men and women, and to a sense of the divine.  Unfortunately, it was a hypocritical concept since its inception set in stolen indigenous lands denominated New England by an intolerant and racist religious sect totally at odds with the humanitarian philosophy of the incarnate man, whom they judged divine and claimed to follow.  Of course, they were very much a reflection of the Romanized Jew, Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, and who swiped the emergent innovative Hebrew religious variant right from under the noses of its progeny.

As a “Pauline” rather than “Nazarene” sect, the conduct of the Pilgrims was utterly predictable.  Orthodox hypocrisy followed by virtual genocide.  Still, the thought is beatific and noble even if its implementation by the Pilgrims and Puritans in general fell far from the mark.  But that does not, in any sense, mean we need to do the same.  Or, more accurately, to keep doing the same.  It would be awesome if on this day of thanksgiving we dedicated ourselves, not just to watching football games and stuffing ourselves, but to replacing polarization with empathy and to doing unto others as we would have them do to us; and to insisting on a peaceful world were swords are beaten into plowshares and equity and justice reign and truth is relevant; and if we did so, not tomorrow but today.

I wonder if resolutions need, for some reason, to be limited to the New Year.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Post-Election Hangover, 2022

It’s the morning of November 9, 2022.  I feel as though I have a hangover although I’ve not indulged in any intoxicants recently, I rarely do.  But I watched last night’s election returns and that is undoubtedly the cause.

I watched them primarily on CNN International, switching periodically to Fox News, both available where I currently reside, in the Republic of Colombia.  My email to the Marion County Florida Board of Elections advising that I had not received my promised mail in ballot, purportedly mailed to me on September 23, went unanswered so, like other United States citizens here who I know (and probably elsewhere), our duty to vote went unexercised, although the dearth of adequate candidates might well have made that right irrelevant, if not meaningless.  That adds to my suspicions about the efficacy and integrity of United States elections, at least as compared to elections elsewhere.  For example, Colombia and its neighbors have reliable electoral results available in hours, through a process that requires official voter identification and the collection of ballots only from voters, and in official polling places.  We still experience some electoral fraud, and vote selling and buying is still difficult to stamp out, but it is minimized.  In the United States, how can anyone know?  It’s somewhat of a mystery to us here. 

Post electoral exit polls indicated deep displeasure with the status quo and the Biden administration, but apparently, fear of Donald Trump, who was not a candidate, and a desperate need to protect the “right” of women to abort unwanted progeny proved more important than concerns about inflation, the economy or an impending nuclear holocaust.  While that may seem incoherent, United States voters have their priorities and are as gullible and short sighted as ever, although perhaps that criticism needs to be tampered with an acknowledgement that the corporate media fulfilled its duty to assure that almost no one was aware that third party and independent candidate options were available, except perhaps for voters in the States of Georgia and Oregon, where available options were beaten down.  Both major political parties have claimed victory, actual and symbolic, but for the electorate, at least from my perspective, all such victories are utterly Pyrrhic. 

I primarily watched the results on CNN because the analysis seemed better and more timely, albeit utterly lacking in objectivity, with insults and taunts pretty much the rule.  Fox news was more civil, but not any more objective.  I wonder what MSNBC was like?  I can’ get it here.  While pundits and purported journalists claim that the results are not yet clear, the reality is otherwise.  As is almost always the case in the modern era (post Second World War), the Deep State won and belligerency and lack of respect for international law will continue to be the rule, regardless of the consequences to common men, women and children in the United States and abroad, all in the name of generating profits for the very few.  Costs to others is no concern.  And of course, the Deep State’s most potent weapon, polarization was as effective as ever.  No empathy wanted here!!!!

I saw a very negative reaction to last night’s elections in a right-wing publication (ReTalk Newsletter, November 9, 2022, available at https://retalk.com/c/us-politics/election-4?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=topposts&utm_medium=email&rtmid=20c439ff35ac1637522d0d598c125137), a post from someone deeply offended by the results, who wrote “This should have been a blowout by republicans. We have experienced 2 years of disastrous policies and yet ugly pieces of shit like fetterman [sic] are elected. There is something terribly wrong with the democrats. Either they are truly insane and want to see this country destroyed or they are just plain ignorant morons. To all the fucking morons out there who voted for any democrat I hope enjoy your reduced standard of living you stupid bastards!!!

I replied to that post noting that insults and ridicule rarely if ever change minds and hearts, and that that’s what was needed.  That a fundamental paradigm shift was essential towards respect and a quest for accuracy, with a willingness to change perspectives based on re-evaluating those that have proved ineffective; all seasoned with plenty of empathy, something apparently totally lacking.  I of course doubt that my reply will be taken into account, other than perhaps through some sort of ridicule.  Other perspectives, while diametrically opposed, were virtually identical in tenor if not in substance, indicating that somehow the election had saved United States democracy from traitorous “election deniers”, ignoring the reality that United States democracy exists only as a delusional illusion but that liberty gives everyone the right to opine on critical public issues, whether they are right or wrong in their observations.  Again, insults and ridicule were the preferred means of communication.  Which is exactly what the Deep State favors, “polarization and hate uber alles”, perhaps seasoned with a bit of violence which can then be manipulated, distorted and decried in a flood of crocodile tears.  In essence, it appears that traditional Republicans and all Democrats agree that the electoral results were shaped by former president Donald Trump somehow, and that the GOP needs to comply with Deep State demands to prevent him, not only from running for public office, but even from expressing himself, … for everyone’s good.  Such is the concept of civil rights and liberty now sweeping the airwaves, a message very likely to be endlessly repeated, at least during the following two years.  Hopefully (according to them), the “Biden Justice Department and attorneys general in New York and Georgia, will soon see to that.

As Yakov Smirnoff noted decades ago “America!  What a country!”

Is it any wonder that I woke feeling hung over?  I’m pretty sure that hangovers are a pandemic this morning, and one without any cure in sight.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Involuted Lacunae

“I actually liked Babel” he admitted, “I admired its audacity.”

“Then, why destroy it” asked his adversary, or perhaps his assistant, at least at one time, the Archangel Hêl él?

“I didn’t, not really, I just set events in motion so that those who dared consider the faintest possibility of challenging me turned, instead, on each other.  It was a reflex reaction, one I’ve long regretted.”

“But what of their language, and their knowledge; their music and their poetry” asked Hell-El, fully knowing the answer but perhaps wanting to add a bit of salt, perhaps black salt from the Himalayas, to the metaphorical wound?

“Fragmented, unfortunately, couldn’t be helped.  I hadn’t the time to consider consequences before I acted, and thus, unintentionally loosened Confusion; Misperception and Misunderstanding from their bonds, and they quickly mated and sired Disdain and Manipulation and Treachery, which in turn, bred politics and religion and journalism, and, if not the Law, unfortunately, the legal profession.”

“Pity that!  Unfortunate. Right.  The end of possibilities you once fancied.  ….  On another front, any news from Humpty Dumpty and his egg shell restoration project”?
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

A Call for a Real Liberal, a Real Progressive Political Movement in the United States

As usual, the United States is embroiled in an armed conflict.  Since war is supposedly illegal, we no longer have them, we have police actions and special military operations and clandestine interventions, etc.  The latest, that one involving the Ukraine, is a bit different, a bit more Machiavellian.  The United States orchestrated it (with help from its NATO allies) and is financing it but is maintaining that it is not actively participating in it, other than through assuring and facilitating its continuance in order to weaken both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, regardless of the cost in lives and infrastructure for the Ukrainians (the United States designated tools) and perhaps, in the near future, if its luck holds, the Taiwanese.  That nuclear holocaust is a risk is irrelevant.  The ends, apparently, justify the means, and narrative management will take care of all but the radioactive fallout.

Thank goodness Donald Trump was eliminated to make the foregoing possible, after all, it’s a project started during the Clinton administration and implemented by the good old troika of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden (with an assist by Hunter).

So, how is the foregoing feasible, you know, with the United Nations Charter, the United States Constitution, etc.?  Well, well-orchestrated political dynamics in and through the United States certainly help.  There’s the purportedly defensive “North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, now morphed into a world-wide neoliberal enforcement organ predicated on “Mafian” principles; there’s the European Union, NATO’s echo chamber; and of course, there’s the  United States’ bipartisan dictatorship.

Let me explain the latter. 

There are two major political parties in the United States which, between them, split almost all political offices and posts at every level.  One, the Democratic Party, has under the leadership of a certain Nancy Pelosi, with the assistance of a certain Chuck Schumer, become monolithic in its voting patterns (except for two recalcitrant senators, one from West Virginia and one from Colorado, considered pariahs and traitors).  The other is a strange collection of feuding caucuses under divers, would be leaders, who find it difficult to govern.  Not a bad thing as Will Rogers, a noted political comedian from the first half of the twentieth century once noted when he explained that “no one’s life or property was safe while Congress was in session”.  Oddly, he was a Democrat and once described that political party in terms that now apply to its principle opponent.

Until fairly recently, interestingly enough, both parties were controlled by the same people, whose artfully planted moles in the federal bureaucracy shielded their interests from any populist threats.  Somehow that managed to briefly change in 2016, making formal and informal structural changes in the electoral system necessary in order to preserve democracy’s innocuousness.  After all, democracy’s supposed to be just for show.  The control by the unorganized but highly disciplined state within a state that some of us refer to as the Deep State was shaken, perhaps bent a bit but not broken, and it is now firmly back in place.  Thanks to an artfully crafted, controlled and managed “pandemic”.  A curse for many but a blessing for the privileged few who rule us.

But, what does the foregoing mean? 

Well, to all appearances, it means that ideology free monolithic autocracy and pragmatism have triumphed over principles, equity, democracy and liberty, nasty things the latter, every one.  Monolithic autocracy, is maintained, sustained and fueled by the hate, disdain and polarization which the Deep State, now a memeplex all its own, loves.  It sets us against each other domestically by gender, by race, by nationality, by sexual orientation, by religious beliefs and then does all it can to absolutely silence dissent through censorship, censorship directly by our government (all three branches) as well as through its allies in Internet technologies and platforms, and through abuse of the criminal justice system to attack political enemies, all while loudly accusing everyone else of doing exactly what it is it is in fact doing (the foregoing phrase kind of reminds us of the famous observation, “that depends on what the meaning of “is”, is).  There is a problem though.  Today, only the Democratic Party is sticking to the script, although a number of traditionalist Republicans keep trying to bring the good old GOP back into line.  But fortunately for the Deep State, at least right now, the Democratic Party controls all of the federal political branches (although how legitimate that control is and how it was attained is questioned by all too many potential voters; but that is irrelevant).

To the delight of the Deep State, that “Democratic” Party applies Deep State principles and tactics internationally, as well as domestically, seeking economic and political control by planting conflict everywhere which permits perpetual sowing of the profits of perpetual war, albeit in the name of peace, democracy and liberty.  And admittedly, those profits are not meant to be shared, at least not broadly.

To opponents of violence as a means of conflict resolution, to those to whom equity, truth and justice are somehow relevant, GOP traditionalists are not much better than Democrats, but at least the GOP is not monolithic, there is internal dissent expressed in actual congressional debates and non-uniformity of votes, with a wing led by Rand Paul that demands de-escalation of external conflicts and freedom of belief and speech at home, opposed to GOP traditionalists like the Cheneys and the Bushes.  And there are civic leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, an awesome statesperson, except for her Islamophobia, but she at least thinks for herself and is not owned by the billionaire class.  In truth, there are viable political leaders everywhere, in third parties and among those who refuse to be part of political parties (which have become the self-serving sectarians James Madison promised in the Federalist Papers would not evolve.  The anti-Federalists, unfortunately for us, were right on almost every point, as history has shown). 

Federal elections in the United States (now a dysfunctional mess as promoters of electoral fraud in the name of “democracy” obliterate traditional norms) are set to take place in a few weeks.  Elections that impact men, women and children everywhere, most of whom cannot participate as they are not United States citizens.  I wonder what would happen if they could?  How might all of the people in all of the countries that the United States has fragmented and looted, … purportedly for their own good (or at least that’s the story), usually under Democratic Party led administrations (think WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and now the Ukraine but that’s barely the tip of the iceberg) vote?  But they can’t, at least not unless they have managed to enter the United States and surreptitiously usurp the franchise, … and vote for the Democratic Party.

The foregoing makes United States voters committed to peace and equity morally responsible for selecting world leaders who really believe in peace and in sane environmental policies and in sustainable economics and in equity and in real justice.  A daunting task at which we too often fail because our choices are drastically limited to those of whom the Deep State approves.  As to those who do not come up to Deep Sate standards, well, not that he was great, or even decent, but look at what happened and is happening to Donald Trump, whose main crime is that he does not believe in perpetual war and dared to suggest dismantling NATO and bringing troops back from overseas.  Look at what happened to Tulsi Gabbard, the star of the Democratic Party’s presidential debates until the rules were changed to exclude her.  Look at what happened to Dennis Kucinich, gerrymandered out of a congressional district by his own party (the Democrats, who with crocodile tears now constantly scream against gerrymandering, at least any gerrymandering that is not their own).

All of this is possible only because, notwithstanding the famous “First Amendment”, the United States does not have (and really, never has had) a legitimate free press but rather, only purported journalists tasked with spewing mind-controlling narrative on a 24/7 basis.  There are, of course, miniscule exceptions, exceptions like the imprisoned Julian Assange and those who look up to him, but there are less and less of those as more and more realize on which side their bread is buttered, or how dangerous it is to actually investigate and honestly share findings.

So, … as elections once again approach, we, the electorate, find ourselves confused, bored, disillusioned and disinterested, anticipating results we feel are preordained.  Except of course, for dedicated and either well compensated or deluded Deep State activists, some of whom, like lemmings, vote in blocks regardless of how often they have been deceived.  But then, that’s what polarization is for.

Going into these imminent elections, we are once again unprepared for alternatives, either because they have been prevented from evolving or because the corporate press and social media moguls have obfuscated them.  At best, once more, we can vote against greater evils, although they are difficult to identify.  If only Tulsi Gabbard could run for everything, but alas, she’s not running for anything, although she has endorsed a few candidates.  Still, perhaps by recently resigning from the Democratic Party (but not joining the GOP), she has provided a sort of benchmark for our personal electoral decisions.

Too many of the most decent among us will refuse to participate in what they see as a charade but that may well perpetuate the Deep State’s hold on power, and that, in turn, may well accelerate the day on which our political decisions will no longer have any relevance, as the universe may at last find itself rid of the infection posed by our species, decisions which will no longer be relevant as our, and many innocent species, will no longer inhabit this sphere we call home.  Is that a depressing or hopeful thought?  I guess that depends on one’s attitude towards being rebooted.

Not that there isn’t hope for a peaceful world.  One where equity and justice prevail; where truth is relevant and where we are each not only free, but empowered to attain or full potential.  But that requires a great awakening and a rejection of those who currently enforce de facto, if not de jure slavery over so many, either in a pretty velvet casing or through brute force.  Rejection of those dedicated to ruling us through polarization and perpetual war.  Rejection of those who hoard the world’s resources forcing hundreds of millions to live in abject poverty and to die or be maimed in meaningless conflicts.

There is a saying that it is always darkest before the dawn and it is pretty dark right now.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

A Message for Yankees Fans after the Latest Disaster

It’s October 24, 2022, and Einstein, wherever his soul lurks, is probably sort of chuckling, thinking, “I told them so”. Same-old-same-old all over again, as Yogi might have said. To the brink of success then run away, run away fast as though your lives depended on it (from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”). The organized campaign to place the blame on Aaron Judge thus setting the stage for him to head elsewhere is in high gear, probably subsidized by the four pillars of the Yankees’ apocalypse: Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone. The limited partners are fine with the results. Profits preserved; money not wasted on fans too stupid to root elsewhere (but that’s the nature of fans).

As one of those “stupid” fans (there may be a redundancy in that phrase, sort of as in “stupid voters”), I have no joy in having been right in numerous postings on social media sites, those useless and frequently censored and manipulated vehicles designed to let us blow off steam while accomplishing nothing. And of course, I am very far from having been alone.

A once promising season is over, as has become traditional. “Postmortem”, sadly, is not a hyperbolic exaggeration for Yankees’ fans, now as polarized as the rest of our country, divided between cheerleaders who label those who criticize management as “haters”, and those who love their Yankees but refuse to accept ineptitude and disdain in our historically storied sports franchise. Ineptitude at every level is the impression that’s been left as “aspirations are swept away” to lie uncomfortably under the rugs in Hal Steinbrenner’s office. Ineptitude concentrated at the top and flowing down in concentric waves: A callous owner faithful to his investors while virtually ignoring the fans; a president of baseball operations missing in action and a bargain hunting general manager whose bargains rarely meet aspirations (as is the case with most bargains); and, a manager and coaching staff whose decisions varied from amateurish to jinxed. A show good enough to consistently make the stage but then flop. The sports version of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, albeit perhaps less talented.

Odd that the Yankees minor leagues seem to do so well, and that while minor league players seem to start out well at the mother team level, they almost immediately succumb to the “swing for the fences-strike-out brigade”. Or that if they’re pitchers, they’re quickly burned out. Actually, odd only if one accepts the excuse that coaches and managers are not responsible for players’ failures. Our Yankees have become the obverse of what they once were. Instead of turning turnips into diamonds we now turn talented and eager young players into failures; that is, when we don’t just let them rot unused, as was the sad case with players such as Miguel Andujar, now “liberated” in the Pittsburg Pirate organization where he is probably sighing, “free at last; free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last”.

Being a fan is a psychologically grueling vocation but one Cub’s fans, Red Sox fans and Jet’s fans have mastered through mainly bad times (albeit always with glimmers of hope, delusional though they might have been). True fans stay the course, but not quietly, not with “my country right or wrong attitudes”, and I guess there is a karmic curse to pay for all the awesome Yankees’ years. For the Babe and the Mick, and Mr. October and Mr. November. And for Donny Baseball. And for George.

The Piper, it seems, is collecting his due.

It’s a bit hard because most of us remember George but we despise his progeny and their decisions. Because we’re seemingly stuck in a ditch with little hope that, as occurred when George arrived to save us from CBS, a new, enlightened and dedicated ownership group will arrive to save the day.

It seems like more sad times await us. Jeter and Rodrigues and CC and other alums don’t have the funds, and the Steinbrenners and their partners would probably not sell anyway.

But we’ll stay the course, that’s what fans do. And make observations and suggestions that all too often, all too sadly, prove true. 
 _______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Perhaps

How strange it is to grasp that this world might well be a better place if the fictional macabre were real. 

If ghouls and goblins ruled in place of politicians and if necromancers and their ilk controlled the corporate media. 

Or perhaps there wouldn’t be any difference.  Any difference at all.

Perhaps they already do.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

A Biography of Sorts

It started towards the end of the third quadrant in July. 

Monthly quadrants are not all equal, of course.  Those in February are usually seven days long except in quadrennial years, and then each quadrant is approximately seven days and six hours long.  April, June, September and November have quadrant’s that are seven days and twelve hours long, but January and March and May and July and August and October and December are a tiny bit more complex.  And they’re in the majority.

In that July with which we were concerned, the day with which we were concerned was the twenty-second, a sort of magical day in astrological terms, and it was towards the end of the third quadrant because in July, as in January and March and May and August and October and December, each quadrant is seven days and eighteen hours long, so the third quadrant would end at six in the morning of the twenty-third day.  And this was still the twenty-second day.

Had it been in February it would have been during the start of the fourth and final quadrant, but it wasn’t.  Had it been in April, June, September or November, the twenty-second would also have been during the last day of the third quadrant if it were during the morning but the first day of the fourth and final quadrant, had it been the afternoon.  But it was not April, June, September or November with which we were concerned, although the time with which we were dealing being the early morning of the twenty-second day, before the sixth hour, there would have been quadratic coincidence during those months.

It was in a city high in the central range of the Colombian Andes, one overlooked by a glacier astride a volcano whom the aboriginals had once worshiped (whom, not which, given that they personified it) under the name Cumanday.  Perhaps some still worshipped it under that name and it is certain that there were at least some local, dedicated proto-new agers, who did so then.  It had been the year of the dog in the Chinese calendar, although China was very far away.  He’d have preferred the year of the dragon, or at least of the lion, but no lion was included in that calendar, so it would have had to have been, its cousin, the tiger.  But it was the dog.  It seemed unfair that no lion was available given that in the more traditional Babylonian astrological family, the twenty-second day in July was usually the dividing line between the lion and the crab, although that crab had a rather unpleasant name: cancer.

And anyway, being too young to really have a vote (scream and cry though he might, and in fact, as he had) he was stuck with the available signs, a dog and a lion, and maybe a crab with an evil name.  Not so bad really.  But a dragon would have been really cool.

It had been an interesting day (in the Chinese sense).  The culmination of a somewhat unpleasant period for his mother of course, and unfortunately for her, he’d taken his time, albeit not without a good deal of internal fussing.  But he’d finally come out to see the world he’d be inhabiting for quite some time.  He’d been the first of his generation so a good deal of fuss had been made of the occasion.  New waves had formed and in concentric circles, had begun to oscillate, first nearby, then in that special city, in that special department, in that special country, in that special continent, in those special hemispheres, one vertical and the other horizontal, then in that poor, poor abused planet, then in that solar system, in that galaxy, in that universe, and finally, throughout the multiverse, at which point, the wave had started its return journey playing with time and space, and quanta, and dimensions along the way.  Examining black holes and white holes and playing with dark energy and dark matter but, as it approached its point of origin, nothing was there except radioactive residue, well, and radio waves echoing demands that everyone vote for a certain Democratic Party because Russians and Chinese with which Republicans were purportedly in league had to be stopped from destroying everything, and that the Ukraine had to be permitted to join NATO, and that a great deal of money was required, first, to keep that Democratic Party in power, and then, for more and more and more weapons to keep everyone safe from , … well, at that point the echoes became garbled.

So the wave just kept on going, back to the edge of the multiverse it had visited before. And back again, looking for that child who’d first arrived in the third quadrant of the month of July, at the intersection of the lion and the crab in the year of the dog in a once beautiful city high in the central range of the Colombian Andes, one once overlooked by a glacier astride a volcano whom aboriginals had once worshiped under the name Cumanday, and perhaps some local, dedicated proto-new agers had once done so as well.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

“And then there were none”: Reflections in an Empty Pond

He remembered.  That’s all there was, and, of course, his body.  Everything else, everywhere was gone, well, except for imagination.  Strange that he’d list that last, it was possibly the most important thing that still existed.  Mankind was gone, as was nature, as was the multiverse.  Only he stayed behind; the last guardian, but guardian of what?  Of memories he guessed.

And he’d known what he was doing when he’d agreed to take on the task, if not why. 

His hair still grew, it was infinitely long now, as were his nails, and he still perspired, but that soon evaporated and then vanished into the eternal nothing, actually, infinitely longer than eternal.  He didn’t breathe and of course, urination and defecation had ended, at the end.  He’d accepted the charge when the universe was still young, when the multiverse still was.

And he’d known what he was doing, that it would be irrevocable and endless, if not why. 

But someone had to assume the role.  He’d known how desperately lonely and boring it would be, until only despair remained, without any hope for respite, without any hope for death.  Without any future, only the vacuous present and memories of the past, and his growing hair, and his growing nails, and every once in a while, a bit of perspiration that all too quickly vanished.

Hopefully the first trillion years were the hardest.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Remembering Father Nicholas Trivelas on the Fourteenth Anniversary of His Passing

Today, September 30, 2022, is the anniversary of the passing of Father Nicholas Trivelas, formerly pastor at Charleston’s Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity while I was a student at the Citadel many, many decades ago.  Reflections on his passing brought to mind two other Greek Orthodox priests who were a comfort to me during trying times, Father Nicholas Nick of Fort Lauderdale’s St. Demetrius Greek Orthodox Cathedral and my family’s Greek Orthodox pastor in Queens, New York, when I “wore a much younger man’s clothes”.  The latter’s surname was, I think, Volides.  Because they can marry and father children, Greek Orthodox clerics tend to be more empathic than celibate clerics, and warmer, in a safe manner. 

I confess that I am not a “believer” and it may be that I was not then.  I’m at best an agnostic and a seeker, but I profoundly respect the faith of others.  Indeed, I have studied most major religions and as a young academic, taught a course on mythologies and comparative religions, something that has remained a life-long interest.  I was baptized Greek Orthodox at the age of ten at the insistence of my step father, Leonidas Theodore Kokkins, born in Flushing, New York where he is interred, but I had already been baptized as a Catholic and, as a member of a church associated with the Theosophical Society.  It’s not really as confusing as it sounds.  My maternal family were theosophists and thus generally accepting of all religions.  But the three priests I referenced above were special people in my life and in the lives of others, too many to count. 

The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, of which I am a proud graduate, was and is a very special place.  Although it is in continuous evolution, something with which many of its graduates do not agree (being deeply traditionalist), its values seem constant.  The Citadel involves a profoundly demanding, integral experience combing academics, athletics, military training, civic involvement and ethics, one that took everything we could give and then some to complete (indeed, many decent, intelligent and competent people do not succeed there and move on to other endevors elsewhere, with the Citadel’s blessing and best wishes). 

Father Trivelas helped me make it through the Citadel’s rigors and supplemented its values, as did the wonderful Greek community of Charleston, special among them three families, the Misoyianis family, the Kirlis family, and especially the Lempesis family.  It’s hard to think of one without the others, and each always inspires feelings of profound love and gratitude.

As tends to happen in this mobile and dynamic world, one where values seem much less relevant than they once were, the memories and reflections to which I allude are bitter sweet: sad because of the loss of contact but beautiful because of the shared experiences involved and because of the role played by those to whom I’ve referred in whatever positive attributes I’ve attained.  These are memories in which my mother echoes, Powerfully, as do so many others:  my classmates, both at the Citadel and at the Eastern Military Academy (once prominent in Cold Spring Hills, New York, but now long gone), and memories inspired by the student’s I’ve been privileged to teach and the colleagues from whom I’ve also learned a great deal. 

Memories of Father Trivelas trigger them all.  If he was right and there’s a Heaven, he is there, prominently.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Refractions on a Day in Early Fall

Today dawned beautiful here in the city in the sky, nestled at the feet of the Cumanday in the central range of the Colombian Andes, although, as I have for the past few days, I awoke with trepidation, undefinable but perhaps due to world events and the horrible state of my adopted (and now somewhat abandoned) homeland to the North.  A land and a people I also love profoundly. 

Colombia seems embarked on a renaissance, a period of enlightenment and perhaps, even enlightened governance.  A great deal of its polarization has evaporated, almost overnight, a sign of hope to the world, which in its Northern Hemisphere, seems engulfed in hate, animosity and belligerent competition.

I live in both worlds though, and as in the case of apples, the bad negatively impacts the healthy.

So, despite the beautiful dawn, shadows of the dark clouds that blight the land where my sons, distant and silent, reside, impact even the brightest days in this renascent paradise.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.