April 30, 2008


Eos chasing Tithonus in happier times. Urn courtesy of wikipedia.

It is pretty well established that one should be careful in what one asks for when petitioning the gods for a favor. One should also be specific.

Take the case of Tithonus in Greek mythology. He was the lover of Eos or Dawn. Eos asked Zeus to grant him immortality, but she forgot to ask for eternal youth. He kept getting older and older but wasn't able to die. According to the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite,

... when the first strands of gray hair started growing
from his beautiful head and his noble chin,
then the Lady Eos stopped coming to his bed.
But she nourished him, keeping him in her palace,
with grain and ambrosia. And she gave him beautiful clothes.
But when hateful old age was pressing hard on him, with all its might,
and he couldn’t move his limbs, much less lift them up,
then...she thought up this plan, a very good one indeed:
she put him in her chamber, and she closed the shining doors over him.
From there his voice pours out—it seems never to end—and he has no strength at all, the kind he used to have in his limbs when they could still bend.

In another version, he shrivels up and turns into a cicada who constantly begs for death.

Doh! I hate it when that happens.

When El Cabrero was younger, I petitioned the gods to let me be a writer. The petition was granted, sort of. I've written a lot of stuff, some of which may have been marginally useful in a few smallish campaigns but none of which is particularly memorable.

I should have been more specific....something like "Let me be as good a writer as Melville in his prime but more commercially successful and with a much less miserable personal and family life than he had...Oh, yeah, and let some of it make a difference."

That would have been awesome.

YOU SOO ALREADY KNEW THIS. The economy is like bad or something.

VENGEANCE IS WHOSE? Jared Diamond, author of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel reflects on the drive for revenge in this New Yorker article.

FALLEN IDOL. The International Monetary Fund, which Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research calls a "creditors cartel," has seen better days...which might not be such a bad thing. Economist Jeffrey Sachs is quoted in this piece as saying that "the IMF has become the Typhoid Mary of emerging markets, spreading recessions in country after country."

HUNGRY PLANET. This item from The Nation discusses the global food crisis.

GET MOVING. Exercise, dammit.



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