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

Number 114, September - October 2017

"Window Overlooking Greenwich Village"

By John Sloan, John French Sloan (August 2, 1871 – September 7, 1951) was a twentieth-century painter and etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan school of American art. He was also a member of the group known as The Eight. He is best known for his urban genre scenes and ability to capture the essence of neighborhood life in New York City, often observed through his Chelsea studio window. Sloan has been called "the premier artist of the Ashcan School who painted the inexhaustible energy and life of New York City during the first decades of the twentieth century and an "early twentieth-century realist painter who embraced the principles of Socialism and placed his artistic talents at the service of those beliefs."

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Editor's Page

To Hunt a Nazi by Roberto Fox (as told to Frank Thomas Smith)

There are moments in the present, but also in the past and I hope in the future, when I have the urge to pull Eliot out from my book case and read Four Quartets. The moments are usually when I’m bogged down with a story or a poem and think that a solution simply isn’t possible. Somehow Quartets – only that, not other poems by Eliot or any other poet – inspires me, or at least gives me hope that anything is possible. I was meditating on these three lines when the phone rang. I was sitting at my desk with my back to my picture-window overlooking the Buenos Aires municipal golf course in Palermo Park. I can’t face the park while working because its beauty distracts me. Anyway it was foggy, a common occurrence on autumn mornings, though the sun usually burns the fog away by mid-morning. I picked up the phone and swiveled around towards the park: “Hola”
“Mr. Roberto Fox, please?” a woman’s voice asked in English.
Continue reading

Current Events
Slouching Toward Mar-A-Lago by Andrew J. Bacevich

Like it or not, the president of the United States embodies America itself. The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people. In a fundamental sense, he is us. It was not always so. Millard Fillmore, the 13th president (1850-1853), presided over but did not personify the American republic.  He was merely the federal chief executive.  Contemporary observers did not refer to his term in office as the Age of Fillmore.  With occasional exceptions, Abraham Lincoln in particular, much the same could be said of Fillmore’s successors.  They brought to office low expectations, which they rarely exceeded.  So when Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) or William Howard Taft (1909-1913) left the White House, there was no rush to immortalize them by erecting gaudy shrines -- now known as “presidential libraries” -- to the glory of their presidencies.  In those distant days, ex-presidents went back home or somewhere else where they could find work... Continue reading

The Pig on Your Plate by Barbara J King
That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

Domestic pigs, the kind portrayed in hot-pink neon above barbecue joints, curly tailed and carefree, have prodigious memories. In problem-solving with computers, they match wits with little kids and win. They are able to plan ahead, and they live in complex social communities. They recognise other pigs as distinct individuals. Pigs aren’t just cerebral, though: they have heart. When others are in distress, they can express concern and act with empathy. A description of pig behaviours, derived from scientific experiments and compiled by Lori Marino of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and Christina M Colvin at Georgia Institute of Technology is so impressive, you might think it was about chimpanzees, elephants or whales... Continue reading.

On Dubbing Movies by Jorge Luis Borges

Art’s possibilities for combination are not infinite, but they tend to be appalling. The Greeks begot the chimera, monster with the head of a lion, with the head of a dragon, with the head of a goat; the theologians of the second century the Trinity, in which the Father, the Son and the Spirit are inextricably joined; the Chinese zoologists the ti-yiang, supernatural auburn bird with six feet and four wings, but no face or eyes; the geometricians of the twentieth century the hypercube, a four dimensional figure that encloses an infinite number of cubes and is bordered by eight cubes and twenty-four squares. Hollywood has now enriched this inane teratological museum. By means of a malign artifice called dubbing, they propose monsters which combine the illustrious features of Greta Garbo with the voice of Aldonza Lorenzo. Why not publish our admiration for this distressing wonder, for these industrious phonetic-visual anomalies? Continue reading - Español


The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

On page 224 of Liddell Hart's History of World War I you will read that an attack against the Serre-Montauban line by thirteen British divisions (supported by 1,400 artillery pieces), planned for the 24th of July, 1916, had to be postponed until the morning of the 29th. The torrential rains, Captain Liddell Hart comments, caused this delay, an insignificant one, to be sure. The following statement, dictated, reread and signed by Dr. Yu Tsun, former professor of English at the Hochschule at Tsingtao, throws an unsuspected light over the whole affair. The first two pages of the document are missing.". . . and I hung up the receiver. Immediately afterwards, I recognized the voice that had answered in German. It was that of Captain Richard Madden. Madden's presence in Viktor Runeberg's apartment meant the end of our anxieties and-but this seemed, or should have seemed, very secondary to me-also the end of our lives. It meant that Runeberg had been arrested or murdered... Continue reading

Passing Away in Boca Raton by Roberto Fox [as told to Frank Thomas Smith]

My mother left an ambiguous message on my answering machine: Robby baby, don't you think it's time to visit? I need to talk to you about passing away. She lives in a gated community in Boca Raton, Florida. I visit her twice or thrice a year in a devoted son routine, but until now I've always combined the trip from Buenos Aires with other business in the States. At the moment I had no other business there, but you can imagine why after receiving a message like that and trying unsuccessfully to get her all day on the phone, I'd take the first plane north. My mother is in her late eighties and except for some mild memory problems has always been healthy, but at that age anything can happen, and fast... Continue reading

Miryam - Part Four by Luise Rinser

It was good that in those days something new was introduced, something unexpected: two women came, Yochana, the wife of Chuza, Herod's finance minister, and a court-lady by the name of Shoshana. My jaw dropped. I'd known them for a long time. Yochana had been one of my father's best customers, she came often to Magdala representing Herod. She came with great pomp and ordered the best oils and aromatic waters and ointments, She was rich herself and well married, it seemed, and had three children. Now she came on foot, she and her serving lady, and they were dusty and without make-up.
What do you want here?
To live with you.
Do you spoiled women have any idea of how we live?
We do have an idea, and that's why we're here, Yochana said. What's happened to you? What changed you so much? Is this a joke or are you in earnest?
I am very much in earnest. I have burnt all bridges behind me... Continue reading

Children's Corner

How the Donkey Got its Cross by Frank Thomas Smith

Donkeys are stubborn, all of them, but some are more stubborn than others. Mine is the most stubborn one I know. If you want him to walk, he stands still. If you want him to stand still, he walks. If you want him to work, he sleeps or pretends to sleep. If you want him to sleep...but no, who would want him to sleep? But if you did want him to, he would surely stay awake all night. Nevertheless, I love my donkey very much because he's a good friend, doesn't lie and doesn't hurt anyone. And he's always willing to take me on his back to the teacher's house and he waits all morning until I leave and takes me home. Some of the kids have ponies, but none of them rides a donkey because, as I said, they are very stubborn. My donkey doesn't let anyone but me on his back and if you forced him to do so, he wouldn't move a step forward. You could push him, beat him, beg him; he wouldn't move. He won't let anyone else lead him either... Continue reading - Español


Conspiracies - the Play by (Identity classified)

This one-act-play was performed in August 2017 in the Facebook theater. It was leaked by an unknown patriot, despite being classified Top Secret and verboten by the Anthroposophical Society's counter-conspiracy division. (Shred before reading.)
The Players (in order of appearance): Tarjei Straume, Frank Thomas Smith, Sarah Cherry, James D. Stewart, Rosann Roxy Jentes, Bradford Riley
Tarjei (quoting Rudolf Steiner): "Yes, indeed, the Americans should not pride themselves on their forebears, their European blood ancestry. Rather they should point to the fact that they once lived in Asia at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, and there went through a culture which was not yet permeated by Christianity; thus they are also those who accept Christianity through external tradition and external education. There is still a strong opposition from this quarter to a soul-spiritual conception of the world."  Continue reading

The Spiritual Matrix - An Anthroposophical Reading, or, this essay is the red pill
by Seth Miller


This essay explores the Matrix trilogy of movies from the perspective of spiritual science. Close attention is paid to the actual events in the "text" of the movies, with an eye towards illuminating features concerning the major characters and plot elements in a coherent, symbolic, and mythological perspective. In particular the movies are shown to be uniquely understandable from the perspective of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical insights concerning human evolution... Continue reading

Bio-dynamic Agriculture Course - Lectures 1 & 2
by Rudolf Steiner

I am quite convinced that everyone here will be perfectly satisfied with the hospitality that has been provided. Whether you will be equally satisfied with the course of lectures itself is a question which is perhaps open to dispute, although we shall do our best during the discussions which will take place later, to reach accord on what has been said. For you must remember that though in many quarters there has been an ardent desire for such a course of lectures, it is the first time that I have undertaken such a task from within the heart of Anthroposophical striving. Continue reading

The Gospel of John - Lecture 2 - Esoteric Christianity by Rudolf Steiner

The first words of the Gospel of St. John touch upon the deepest mysteries of the world. This can be seen when we allow the truths of Spiritual Science which lie at their very foundation to pass before our souls. And we must dip deeply into spiritual knowledge if these first words of this Gospel are to appear to us in the right light. We must recall to memory much that is well known to those of you who for a long time have been occupying yourselves with the anthroposophical worldview. But today we shall need to expand certain elementary truths of this worldview by penetrating further into various significant cosmic mysteries... Continue reading

Spiritual-scientific Cosmology - Lecture 1 - by Rudolf Steiner

The lecture cycle on the basic elements of Theosophy that I recently announced will have to be given later at a more appropriate time. I have postponed those lectures and decided for now to dedicate Thursdays to the subject of cosmology, the evolution of the world, that is, the teaching about the inception of the world and the shaping of the human being within this world in a theosophical sense. I am aware that this involves the most difficult chapter of theosophical teaching, and I can inform you that several of our branches have decided not to even touch upon this chapter because it is too difficult. Nevertheless, I have decided to do so, because I believe that the indications I am able to give may be useful to many of you. Even though we cannot cover the subject completely at once, we can nevertheless receive indications that will serve to allow us to penetrate more deeply into the material later... Continue reading

"Apologia" concerning the publication of the the First Class Lessons: English / Español


The Last Letter by Romano Giudicissi

He who has ears let him hear:
For Alma, so loved
As no one has ever loved her,
So loved as no one
Will ever love her again:
after all
that has been between us,
after all
we have already said,
not even I know
why I am writing to you,
but I cannot omit doing so,
and I am sending you this
as the last of my letters... Continue

The Promised Land & She Doesn't Like Me by Kimberly Potter Kendrick

On the edge of the cliff I cowered
Jagged rocks, narrow path
Green fields of lilac and sunflowers
The strength of the mighty river below
One more step, could I fly?
A bird, yes, not I
It’s not what I desired
Turning back I cannot fully remember the whole journey
The poppy fields began my trek
The precarious trail drew me... Continue reading

Words and Music

Manhattan Tower by Gordon Jenkins

Listen all you New Yorkers, there's a rumor going round
That some of you good people want to leave this town
Well, you better consult with me before you go
Cause I been to all those places and I know
Well, Chicago's all right, it's got Marshall Field and Soldier's Field
and it's on a nice lake
But it hasn't got the hansoms in the park
It hasn't got a skyline after dark
(That's why New York's his home)
Let me never leave it
New York's my home, sweet home... Continue reading and listening.

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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor

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