Defeat, by Kahlil Gibran

•March 28, 2020 • 1 Comment

Kahlil Gibran


by Kahlil Gibran

Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.

Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
And in you I have found aloneness
And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,
In your eyes I have read
That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be leveled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.


from The Madman, published in 1918

Read and discussed by Tracy K. Smith:

Tardigrades: Chubby, Misunderstood, and Not Immortal

•March 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment


Found on BoingBoing.

The Four Tops: Reach Out

•March 26, 2020 • Leave a Comment

The Four Tops don’t need no lipsynch.

This is one of the many great songs my mother fed me with when I was growing up. It’s also one of the songs on Billy Bragg’s quarantine playlist.

Helsinki Market Square Panorama from 1909

•March 7, 2020 • Leave a Comment


I visited the Helsinki City Museum last month, and one of the most interesting things I saw there was a floor-to-ceiling panorama of Helsinki’s Kauppatori, the waterfront farmer’s market, taken by Signe Brander in 1909. It’s about 25 feet long and extremely detailed.

Click and zoom on the photos for a closer look. The one at the top of this post is extremely zoomable, and may take a moment to load.

kauppatori close-up 3


kauppatori close-up 2


kauppatori close up

They had a lot more stalls at the market in the days before supermarkets than they do now. The flower market, across the street on the right side of the photo, has only a handful of stalls nowadays.

There are more of Brander’s photos here.

More photos


Roger Ebert, by Clem Snide

•March 4, 2020 • Leave a Comment

A lovely song about Roger Ebert’s last words.

More info at Rolling Stone.

Animation: Max’s Journey to the Moon

•February 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Honest-to-goodness pancake animation by Wriggles & Robins.

Thanks to Miss Cellania.

More animation.

The Neighbor’s Window

•February 14, 2020 • Leave a Comment

The beautiful winner of this year’s academy award for live-action short film.

Directed by Marshall Curry, and based on an unforgettable story I heard years ago on Love + Radio.

(There is some sex in this film)


The Etymology of an Earworm

•February 12, 2020 • Leave a Comment

99% Invisible has a fun and fascinating episode this week about the origins of a (perhaps too) familiar song.

White God still

It turns out that when a pop song feels like it’s one you’ve always known, it might be because it is actually a folk song.

Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out

There is a full-length documentary about this interesting history, too.

Still image from White God

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