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Southern Cross Review

Review of fiction, education, science, current events,
essays, book reviews, poetry and Anthroposophy

Number 105, March - April 2016

"Gabrielle"

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 25 February 1841 – 3 December 1919), was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau." He was the father of actor Pierre Renoir (1885–1952), filmmaker Jean Renoir (1894–1979) and ceramic artist Claude Renoir (1901–69). He was the grandfather of the filmmaker Claude Renoir (1913–1993), son of Pierre.



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Editor's Page

Death, be not proud - or - Life After Eighty by Frank Thomas Smith

 
When you live to be over eighty years of age, it's no longer possible to avoid thinking seriously about inevitably approaching death. We all know, theoretically, that we will die at some point in time. I say “theoretically” because we don't really believe it until at least the average milestone in life has been reached – around 42 years, unless, of course, serious illness or a life threatening accident has brought the milestone closer. But at “over 80” the message becomes seriously clear. You're lucky if you still have some of your original teeth left; you certainly use eyeglasses or contact lenses, your gait is slow, your reactions dim. It was said, correctly, that Derek Jeter was too old at 39 to keep playing shortstop for the New York Yankees. And he agreed. This afternoon Peyton Manning will (hopefully) play his last football game in the Superbowl. He is 39. If we wish to follow the seven-year-itch model, man reaches his physical prime between 21 and 28. Beyond that, if he is engaged in a strenuous physical activity requiring a high level of accuracy, he will notice a lessening of accuracy and an increase in the amount of energy required to achieve the same result as before... Continue reading


Fiction

Evermore by Frank Thomas Smith

  
I went to the school that Sunday afternoon because there was a Board meeting that evening and we'd need some papers from the office. The secretary was ill though; nothing serious, but she wouldn't be able to attend the meeting, so I, living close, went to the school to get the necessary papers. There were no classes on Sunday, no children running about and calling out, so everything was unnaturally still. But I better start at the beginning to show you why I am in this remote place and what I have to do with the school. I’m a journalist, which usually means frustrated writer, and certainly does in my case. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina by my Anglo-Argentine parents. My great-grandparents were Anglos – great-grandfather British, great-grandmother American – and their descendents intermarried within the Anglo community, sent their kids to bilingual schools and spoke English at home. In a country like Argentina knowing English fluently is a great advantage because foreign companies, be they American, British or Japanese, need bilingual people. So when I finished university I got a job right off with PanAm (since defunct) as a ticket agent at the airport, despite having studied literature and philosophy. Actually it was fun and was a great opportunity to meet lovely, “free-thinking” girls – at that time still a rarity in Argentina - especially flight attendants... Continue reading

Evermore [Eternamente]
Fui a la escuela ese domingo a la tarde porque esa noche había reunión de Comisión Directiva e íbamos a necesitar algunos papeles de la oficina. La secretaria estaba enferma; nada serio, pero no iba a poder asistir a la reunión, así que yo, que vivía muy cerca, fui a la escuela a buscar los papeles necesarios. No había clases el domingo, ningún niño corriendo y gritando por ahí, de modo que todo estaba extrañamente silencioso. Pero mejor empiezo por el principio para que sepan por qué estoy en este remoto lugar y qué tengo que ver con la escuela. Soy periodista, lo que generalmente significa escritor frustrado, y ese es, en verdad, mi caso. Nací y me crié en Buenos Aires, Argentina, de padres anglo-argentinos. Mis bisabuelos eran anglos –bisabuelo británico, bisabuela norteamericana –y sus descendientes contrajeron matrimonio dentro de la comunidad anglo, mandaron a sus hijos a escuelas bilingües y hablaban inglés en la casa. En un país como la Argentina, hablar inglés con fluidez es una gran ventaja porque las compañías extranjeras –ya sean norteamericanas, británicas o japonesas– necesitan gente bilingüe. Así que ni bien terminé la universidad conseguí trabajo en PanAm (que ya no existe) como empleado para el mostrador de check-in en el aeropuerto, no obstante haber estudiado literatura y filosofía. La verdad es que era divertido y una gran oportunidad para conocer encantadoras señoritas “librepensadoras” –por entonces todavía una rareza en la Argentina–, especialmente azafatas... Continuar



The Priest and the Shaman by Gaither Stewart

  
With a pretty face but a tendency toward heavy thighs, fat arms and a roll around her tummy, sixteen year-old Eliana had gradually stopped eating. Last June, with the swimming season at the door and scant bikinis and muscled boys in mind, she first eliminated pasta from her diet. Then in July she cut out potatoes and starches, and most sweets in August. By September Eliana was as slim and trim as she’d wanted to be in June. So, already thinking about the next summer, Eliana began to see food as her number one enemy... Continue reading

The Freeing of Aesopos by Paul Holler

  
Not long ago a man asked me how I came by my name, Aesopos. I laughed and wondered why, with my dark complexion, there was any need to explain why I was called "Burned Face." But then I thought about his question. How had I come by this name? Who gave me the name I would carry through most of my life? And when was that? I could not remember. As a boy I had no name. No one thought I needed one. I was a slave-boy with no family. What good would a name have served? But as I grew older I came to be known by many names. The first name I remember was given to me by a man called Leonidas. That name was To Mati Mu, "My Eyes." Continue reading




Current Events

Don't Cry for Me, America - What Trumpism Means for Democracy
by Andrew J. Bacevich

  
Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the most consequential presidential candidate of at least the past half-century. He has already transformed the tone and temper of American political life. If he becomes the Republican nominee, he will demolish its structural underpinnings as well. Should he prevail in November, his election will alter its very fabric in ways likely to prove irreversible. Whether Trump ever delivers on his promise to "Make America Great Again," he is already transforming American democratic practice. Trump takes obvious delight in thumbing his nose at the political establishment and flouting its norms. Yet to classify him as an anti-establishment figure is to miss his true significance... Continue reading

American Democracy Down for the Count - Or What Is It the Scandinavians Have That We Don’t
by Ann Jones

  
Some years ago, I faced up to the futility of reporting true things about America’s disastrous wars and so I left Afghanistan for another remote mountainous country far away. It was the polar opposite of Afghanistan: a peaceful, prosperous land where nearly everybody seemed to enjoy a good life, on the job and in the family. It’s true that they didn’t work much, not by American standards anyway. In the U.S., full-time salaried workers supposedly laboring 40 hours a week actually average 49, with almost 20% clocking more than 60. These people, on the other hand, worked only about 37 hours a week, when they weren’t away on long paid vacations. At the end of the work day, about four in the afternoon (perhaps three in the summer), they had time to enjoy a hike in the forest or a swim with the kids or a beer with friends -- which helps explain why, unlike so many Americans, they are pleased with their jobs.
Continue reading


Anthroposophy

"I wouldn't Start From Here At All" by Stanley Messenger

 
A crop circle
 
Readers in England who enjoy jokes about Irish countrymen, will recognise this as the
punch line of the well known story of an American tourist who is trying to reach Dublin from a remote rural location. The countryman made several attempts to describe to the American how to set about this journey, but gave up in despair with the suggestion that he go to somewhere else and start from there. Whether this is a fair assessment of the way Irish logic works I am not competent to judge, having never been there. What I do recognise however, is that the story is a striking parable of what Don Juan Matus, the initiate in Carlos Castaneda’s 1950’s books about shamanism in the Sonoran desert region of Mexico, was trying to teach Carlos...  Continue reading.


"Apologia" concerning the publication of the the First Class Lessons: Apologia

Nine Lectures on Bees - Lecture Six by Rudolf Steiner

   
HERR DOLLINGER asks a question about the honey comb. There are people who eat the wax as well as the honey, and in restaurants they used at times to serve honey in the comb. He would like to know if it was a bad thing to eat the comb.As to the diseases of bees, he thinks these could not formerly have been as bad as they are today when the bees are over-exploited. HERR MÜLLER said that eating comb-honey was an idiosyncrasy with some people. Naturally, these are the natural combs and not artificial ones. He does not think that bee diseases are the result of exploitation, but that formerly they were less considered. In those days there were not so many weak stocks and so one was not so much on the look out for them. A disease had appeared in Switzerland from England which had not been known in the past. Herr Erbsmehl thinks this may perhaps be owing to the use of artificial manures, even the flowers sicken as the result of this... Continue reading

Karmic Relations, Volume III, Lecture Nine by Rudolf Steiner

 
You will have seen from the previous lectures, how the souls who out of the depths of their subconscious life feel impelled towards the Anthroposophical Movement, bear this impulse within them through their special relationship to the forces of Michael. We have accordingly considered the working of these Michael-forces throughout the centuries, in order to see what influence the impulses of Michael can have upon the lives of those who stand in any kind of connection with them... Continue reading


Poetry

Chess / Ajedrez by Jorge Luis Borges

   
In their solemn corner, the players move
The slow pieces. The board detains them
Until the dawn in its severe world
In which two colors hate each other.

Within the forms irradiate magic
Strictness: Homeric rook, swift
Knight, armed queen, hintermost king,
Oblique bishop and aggressor pawns.
Continue reading

En su grave rincón, los jugadores
Rigen las lentas piezas. El tablero
Los demora hasta el alba en su severo
Ámbito en que se odian dos colores.

Adentro irradian mágicos rigores
Las formas: torre homérica, ligero
Caballo, armada reina, rey postrero,
Oblicuo alfil y peones agresores.
Continuar

The Expatriate by Frank Thomas Smith

   
The problem with most foreign lands
is that they're very far away,
like the bleachers used to be
before the debacle of technology.
Also, either they're terribly bland,
foggy, windy and damp, or,
if southerly, downright dangerous,
where bullets fly and sunscreen 21
can't ward off the assassin sun... Continue reading.



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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor
JoAnn Schwarz, Associate Editor
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