Monday, December 31, 2018

A year in review

Over the past year I have produced 365 blog posts, unless it was leap year, in which case there will be an extra one squeezed in there somewhere. You may have missed one or many of these posts. And while you could sit down right now (or, er, remain sitting) and read them all, here, on my website, on the Internet, where these posts quietly await such things with a kind of plaintive longing, I accept that you may only have a few moments in this busy world. I understand that you might like to get clear on just what all went on at clerkmanifesto in the past year, but you'd like to do it without any effort, and maybe all in a couple minutes. 

So with that in mind I have collected a representative line (or two) from my essays from each month of the year to represent our journey; a year in review by way of brief quotes. And so here, in brief, is 2018 on clerkmanifesto:


Truth with its paltry rewards still beats the alternatives.


The world is practically drowning in luck, until, finally, the luck runs our way, and then it's justice.


Magic is the absence of illusion.


The speed at which I work has absolutely no effect on the speed of time.


In America those with time have nowhere to go, and those with somewhere to go have no time.


A good idea is a good idea, until it is taken under consideration.


Plato said:

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

Which explains an awful lot about our world right now, but then, who cares.


If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all except "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Which, I think, speaks volumes.


Everything that touches you, everything you see, everything that ever happens to you your whole life through, it's all personal.

It's just not all against you.


Golf is a peaceful game, but like everything else down here, only from the clouds.


I'm a glass is half full kind of guy even if it's actually empty.


You have to order the Universe or it will be ordered for you.

Happy New Year to you. And though that's just a paraphrase of a quote by several billion other people, I still mean it.


  1. Those were very nice summaries. Our relationship with the world and events seems a common theme. Wallace Stevens has some poems about that, like what happens if you place a jar on a hill in Tennessee, and how there are thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird, and one of my favorites, "The Idea of Order at Key West." I will take the liberty, if it allows, to post the poem here. Readers, don't worry about knowing who Ramon Fernandez is...just a person. Okay, Happy New Year Feldenstein Calypso!

    She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
    The water never formed to mind or voice,
    Like a body wholly body, fluttering
    Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
    Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
    That was not ours although we understood,
    Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

    The sea was not a mask. No more was she.
    The song and water were not medleyed sound
    Even if what she sang was what she heard,
    Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
    It may be that in all her phrases stirred
    The grinding water and the gasping wind;
    But it was she and not the sea we heard.

    For she was the maker of the song she sang.
    The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
    Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
    Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
    It was the spirit that we sought and knew
    That we should ask this often as she sang.

    If it was only the dark voice of the sea
    That rose, or even colored by many waves;
    If it was only the outer voice of sky
    And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
    However clear, it would have been deep air,
    The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
    Repeated in a summer without end
    And sound alone. But it was more than that,
    More even than her voice, and ours, among
    The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
    Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
    On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
    Of sky and sea.

    It was her voice that made
    The sky acutest at its vanishing.
    She measured to the hour its solitude.
    She was the single artificer of the world
    In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
    Whatever self it had, became the self
    That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
    As we beheld her striding there alone,
    Knew that there never was a world for her
    Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

    Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
    Why, when the singing ended and we turned
    Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
    The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
    As the night descended, tilting in the air,
    Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
    Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
    Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

    Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
    The maker’s rage to order words of the sea,
    Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
    And of ourselves and of our origins,
    In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

    1. Okay then, happy new year to you too! (a bit belated at least here in the comments).

      My responses to your poem (I'm afraid they possess self contradictions)

      1. Nope, I have no idea...

      2. Ramon Fernandez was a Fascist, actually, which I find faintly useful.

      3. It's pretty, all the fishing boats there.

      4. Of course, it's not all about me. There are things far larger and greater than clerkmanifesto, but...

      5. That is so totally me!


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