Book of the World Courant CLXXI





A white-tailed buck with one antler walks into Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem.

Do not imagine for a moment, dear reader, that New York City is a place where a story with such a beginning can end well.


U.S. Demands Return of Drone Seized by China [NYT, 12/17/16, A1:1]


MOKONG, Cameroon – All life travels the ribbon of asphalt that cuts through this remote village.

The women carrying their onions to market atop their heads step aside when a car approaches. The occasional stray cow ambles down the center, chased by local herders. The men with logs balance jerkily, while and entire family wobbles precariously by on one bicycle.

And children – so many children – dart across the pavement, keeping an eye on the cattle while kicking a soccer ball back and forth.

So the villagers gathered to watch when an armored convoy of American officials, led by Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, came bulleting down the road that links cities in Cameroon’s Far North. They pointed at the gleaming white sport utility vehicles and marveled at the truck carrying Cameroonian “B.I.R.” special forces – fierce men with AK-47s, flak jackets and helmets. They peered at the American Navy SEALs guarding the 14-car motorcade, automatic weapons in their arms and bandanas covering their faces.

Six-year-old Toussaint Birwe was one of the curious. Sturdy and serious, with deep-set eyes… [Helene Cooper, “The Boy. The Ambassador. The Deadly Encounter on the Road.” New York Times, 12/17/16. A1:2]


Precariously… on one bicycle


As I was walking that ribbon of highway


…Obama suggested his Chinese hosts might have found the size of the US delegation “a little overwhelming”.

“We’ve got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars and a lot of guys. If you are a host country, sometimes it may feel a little bit much.” [“Barack Obama ‘deliberately snubbed’ by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20,” Guardian online, 9/4/16]


Ah, Bartleby.

Ah, O.J.

Ah, white Bronco.


Q.:       How many gleaming white sport utility vehicles does it take to…



“Remote” from what?

Can a place be remote from itself?

In which case, no matter how iteratively connected, much if not all of central NYC certainly qualifies as remote…


And whose asphalt is it anyway?


Do the balancing men with logs and entire wobbling families share one bicycle?


Men with logs


The highwayman came

Bulleting, bulleting…


The Boy.

The Ambassador.

The Pulitzer.


Vas you dere, Charlie?


How many angels can dance on the shiny chrome bumper of a gleaming white sports utility vehicle?


Until that mornin’

There ain’t nothing can harm you…


And (So), Mersault, perceives the glint of sun off the Arab’s knifeblade, the same sun, perhaps, that had battered his eyes, signifying a fantastically hot, metallic day ahead…

But what about the stranger is not remote?

The trajectory of the bullet is imperceptible, yet it brings the twain together


The glint of sun off the top of the top of his Starbucks iced coffee cup…


Saut périlleux


The fierce BIR carry AK-47s. The bandanna’d Navy SEALs not so much.

More likely, the “highly accurate and versatile” FN SCAR (Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle). []


Q:        Why did the journalist cross the asphalt?

A:        Pour gagner un poulet surprise.


And could not Samantha Power – glimpsed as she bullets by – be taken for a species of Wonder Woman, that other, fictional, ambassador…?

But then, of course not. Impossible. For how could even the most curious gaze penetrate those tinted windows to discern the features of the she who also serves as chair of President Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board?


Or is that invention?




(chance of)


No cats were harmed in the making of this catastrophe


There is casting, and there is castrating. One would not confuse the two.


Spiral beauty


Steal from the gods: they will have their own whoever enjoys them.


I will be even with you and you shall be even with me…


Your capacity to suffer does not win the day




BEIJING – Only a day before a small Chinese boat sidled up to a United States Navy research vessel in waters off the Philippines and audaciously seized an underwater drone from American sailors, the commander of United States military operations in the region told an audience in Australia that America had a winning military formula.

“Capability times resolve times signaling equals deterrence,” Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. told a blue chip-crowd of diplomats and analysts at the prestigious Lowy Institute in Sydney…

…In 2001, soon after President George W. Bush came to office, an American spy aircraft, an EP-3, was forced to land on Haihan Island after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese stripped the plane of its assets and returned it broken down to its parts and packed in boxes… [Jane Perlez, “Muted U.S. response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies.” New York Times, 12/19/16, A6:1]


I was a blue chip crowd for the FBI


Capability x resolve x signaling =


Forget the math, or better yet, don’t do it.

But for God’s sake, memorize the numbers.


Stripped of its assets




Flash, bam, alakazam

Out of the orange colored sky…


Research vessels of the world unite…


What a deterrence a deference makes

Oy, such a deafness a determinism makes!


Truth is evaporating before our eyes, says (Francine) Prose [Guardian, 12/19/16].

The word truth appears approximately a dozen times in the piece, in several instances preceded by the…

Prose, of course, like all attempts to describe reality in language, disappears before the truth.


I have seen Him in the watch fires of

a hundred circling camps

They have builded Him an altar in the

evening dews and damps;

I can read His righteous sentence by

the dim and flaring lamps…

…I have seen a fiery Gospel writ in

burnished rows of steel…

…He is sifting out the hearts of men

before His judgment seat…

So the world shall be His footstool…

His truth [Our God] is marching on…


If there are Centaurs, and suchlike composite creatures, then why not Man-ox depressives?


So here’s how it went down: the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs mutated jointly and severally into a composite race of omnivorous, ravenous feral pigs.

Can you believe it?

Believe it.

So, where does that leave every creature that cannot be, or act like a Big Bad Pig?


Mid-70s on: massification of information technology; incalculable speed of transactions, modeling of financial instruments; quantum extension of markets; multinationals quash UN initiatives for baseline women’s, children’s, worker’s rights, climate and resource protection; US experiments with “outsider,” “non-politician” presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush… the fall of pretentions to socialism in the Russian and Chinese empires, economic rise of a bevy of Asian Tigers…

All this happens while the US electorate votes by not voting, or rallies itself to a pyrrhic triumph, Obama.

Throughout, what attuned ears could hear was steel on strop, steel on sharpening steel…

What we call Greed – the ingreedient that oils all wheels of asymmetry, or injustice for the legal-minded, is nothing more than a distillation of disconnection from the now and fear of, hence attempt to control, the future.

Whence Hierarchy and Order, the other two heads of the selfsame dog, slaver in unison, tasting others’ slavery. This monstrous creature needs three heads in order to balance itself! Which, of course, it can never do.

Sacrifice! Sacrifice! Sons, daughters and horn’d animals, even the occasional King, for without propitious rain or river-rise on the floodplain, or given too much or too little sunlight the crops will fail and then… oh and then… O ashen horse!


And then, two days before the star shines over Bethlehem, a certain Samantha Power raises her abstaining hand in a council chamber on the West Bank of the East River.

            And did the walls come tumbling down?

2 soon 2 tell, BooBoo…


Sentiments and Shtetlments always bring me down


UNITED NATIONS – Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction…

…Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, denounced the measure, and castigated the council members who had approved it.

“Would you ban the French from building in Paris?” he told them…” [“U.S. Abstains in U.N. Vote Against Israeli Settlements,” The New York Times, 12/24/16, A1:5]


Feliz año nuevo:

Chorizo con huevo


¡Ay, mamita – chorizos con piernas!


Good question, Mr. Ambassador.

The short answer being Perhaps.

The larger question being Who do you mean by “French”?