Monthly Archives: October 2011

11-1-11 Hymns for All Saints Day 11-1-11 “For all the Saints who from their Labors Rest”

Perhaps because it is the Ancient Celtic New Year’s Day (Samhain), perhaps because it celebrates the memory of all the real men and women throughout history who found their lives transformed by the Holy Spirit, All Saints Day has always been my favorite Holiday. Perhaps because All Saints finds itself sandwiched between Halloween and the Day of the Dead (“All Souls Day”), it is always the day that I always celebrate in my heart even though almost nobody else pays any attention.  

 “For All the Saints,” Hymn 287

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

 For All the Saints, who from their labors rest, who Thee by Faith before the World confessed, all hearts are brave again and arms are strong!The Lion of Saint Mark---the Evangelist
The Voice of Him that Cryeth in the Wilderness, “Prepare ye the Way of the Lord”

 For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams, (1872-1958)

Words: William Walsham How (1823-1897)

In all the Christian Year, for me there is no better day than All Saints, no greater celebration of the Church being the way I like it: the Church Militant.    No namby-pamby wimpy Church hymn this one.  As an inspirational, rousing anthem urging us to get up and fight for Christ, “For all the Saints” goes together nicely with “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (Hymn 687) and “Faith of Our Fathers” (Hymn 558).  As a hymn urging us to action, especially appropriate for the Fall Harvest Season, “For All the Saints” also makes a good pair with “Come Labor On” (Hymn 541):

Come, labor on!
Who dares stand idle, on the harvest plain
While all around him waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
Go work today.”

Come, labor on!
Claim the high calling angels cannot share—
To young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.

Come, labor on!
The enemy is watching night and day,
To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
While we in sleep our duty have forgot, He slumbered not.

Come, labor on!
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
By feeblest agents may our God fulfill
His righteous will.

Come, labor on!
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
Till the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,
And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,
“Well done, well done!”

Come, labor on!
The toil is pleasant, the reward is sure;
Blessèd are those who to the end endure;
How full their joy, how deep their rest shall be,
O Lord, with Thee!

Words: Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897)

Music: Thomas Tertius Noble (1867-1953)

“Ora Labora” for some reason, in my mind, in turn pairs musically with “All Glory Laud and Honor”.  The only one of this set that totally predates the 19th Century Completely… in that the words were written over a thousand years ago by Theodulph of Orleans, who died in the NINTH Century (ca. 821 A.D.).   One version music to this hymn (154 in the 1982 Hymnal) was written in the 16th Century by Melchior Teschner, 1584-1635) and another (Hymn 155) was a “plainsong” recorded from the Einsiedeln MS and St. Gall (Switzerland) MS in the 10th century.

A Warning to Foreclosure Attorneys and Eviction Judges: If Equal Access to the Courts and Due Process of Law are Optional for Homeowners, so the Eighth Amendment Prohibition on Cruel & Unusual Punishment will be “optional” for you when the time comes! Boiling Steven Baum & Steven Silverstein in Oil Sounds like a Renewal of American Justice to me….

Keep their names!  Note their addresses and that of their associates!  Knit your list of those who oppress you in Code just as Madame Therese Defarge did in Tale of Two Cities!  While Marie and her Ladies in Waiting play milkmaid at Le Petit Trianon, others are planning the revolution….

What the Costumes Reveal

Photos from a former employee of the law firm of Steven J. Baum: Two Steven J. Baum employees mocking homeowners who have been foreclosed on.
Published: October 28, 2011

On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party.The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Joe Nocera

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posteda YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.

A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses. Most of the other pictures show either mock homeless camps or mock foreclosure signs — or both. My source told me that not every Baum department used the party to make fun of the troubled homeowners they made their living suing. But some clearly did. The adjective she’d used when she sent them to me — “appalling” — struck me as exactly right.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)

MFY Legal Services, which defends homeowners, and Harwood Feffer, a large class-action firm, have filed a class-action suit claiming that Steven J. Baum has consistently failed to file certain papers that are necessary to allow for a state-mandated settlement conference that can lead to a modification. Judge Arthur Schack of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn once described Baum’s foreclosure filings as “operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe.” (My source told me that one Baum employee dressed up as Judge Schack at a previous Halloween party.)

I saw the firm operate up close when I wrote several columns about Lilla Roberts, a 73-year-old homeowner who had spent three years in foreclosure hell. Although she had a steady income and was a good candidate for a modification, the Baum firm treated her mercilessly.

When I called a press spokesman for Steven J. Baum to ask about the photographs, he sent me a statement a few hours later. “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It described this column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

I encourage you to look at the photographs with this column on the Web. Then judge for yourself the veracity of Steven J. Baum’s denial.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on October 29, 2011, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: What the Costumes Reveal.

I can only imagine what Halloween parties might be like at the office of Steven D. Silverstein, at 14351 Redhill Suite G, Tustin, CA 92780 or Barrett, Daffin, Frappier, Treder, & Weiss, L.L.P., at 20955 Pathfinder Road, Suite 300 Diamond Bar, California 91765, or any of countless similar law firms that fit the Dickensian caricature of soulless lawyers whole live solely to destroy the lives of others might be like.  Silverstein, at least, seems to dress in Halloween costume year round as a loan shark or loan shark lawyer.  But there are other Dickensian characters, like Madame Thérèse Defarge in Tale of Two Cities: she waited for the revolution a long time, keeping the names of the government agents and traitors to the people memorialized in code or glyphs known only to her in her endless knitting.  

I don’t know how long it will take for the revolution to come here, but I do not believe we need to pray merely that people such as these employees of Steven Baum, or Steven Silverstein, or Barrett, Daffin, Frappier, Treder, & Weiss, will receive their just deserts in the afterlife.  On my list, the names of Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are close to the top of the list for pretending to be on the side of the people, while working tirelessly in their high ranking Senate Committees for the banks and their attorneys, to give them tax breaks for their work evicting people after non-judicial foreclosures under California Civil Code 2924.

Two Months Until the Campaign for Senate Begins in Earnest—Registration of Candidates Starts in January—My Campaign Platform in Brief

The Constitution of the United States is the greatest charter of human liberty ever conceived by the mind of man, and the Anglo-American Common Law is the most decent legal system ever to evolve on the Planet, the best guarantor of common sense and fairness ever offered to any people.   If Elected to the United States Senate, I will struggle to restore and re-empower the Constitution as guarantor of the Common Law, the rights of the people freely to contract for and enforce their contracts and rights to own and maintain their interests in property in all courts according to that law.

I oppose all efforts to invade or destroy the rights guaranteed by it to every citizen of this republic, including but not limited to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the misnamed PATRIOT Act of 2001—if Elected to the United States Senate I will work tirelessly to repeal these statutes and to restore Habeas Corpus to full force and power, and to guarantee that the Civil Rights Laws of the United States can be enforced equally by white people against economic injustice and will no longer serve solely to pit one ethnic group against another, to the detriment and degradation of all.

I stand for social and economic justice, which, I believe can be guaranteed to all citizens only by a strict adherence to our Constitution, the Common Law, and the avoidance and abolition of any statutory or regulatory invasions or destructions of the constitutional rights of the states and individuals guaranteed by the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

I oppose the totalitarian, centralized bureaucratic government that exists in our country and the police nation supported by the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the White House, and the Courts, as well as in the State Governments.

I am a Democratic-Republican in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and Samuel Tilden, and I completely and utterly reject the platforms of both the Democratic and Republican parties as constituted today, which are better called the “Corporate-Socialist Parties of Confiscatory Taxation and Totalitarian Regulation.”

We stand for the sovereignty and integrity of each individual against the State; the constitutional right to choose one’s associates and lifestyle; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to learn one’s living in any manner that is not injurious to others.  I oppose the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats mandated by the misnamed Public Health & Welfare Programs. I oppose the fictitious monetary system created by the Federal Reserve and the fictitious casino-stock-market gambling society created by the Securities & Exchange Commission.  I oppose the great fraud on the American people constituted by the Social Security Trust Fund and will fight to impose common law fiduciary rules of responsibility and accountability on all government insurance programs and the abolition of all unconstitutional government frauds. I favor home-rule, local self-government and absolute non-interference with individual rights.

I oppose and condemn the actions of the Federal Government in sponsoring a nationwide welfare program calling for Federal regulation of every aspect of private and family life, including the De-Facto Establishment of Secular Humanism as the National Religion of this Country in Violation of the First, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, Federal regulations of private employment practices, voting, and local law enforcement.

I affirm that the continuing enforcement and elaboration of all such programs is utterly destructive of the social, economic and political life of the American people, and everywhere on earth.

Wherever there may be differences in race, creed or national orgin in appreciable numbers, each race, creed, and national or ethnic group should be entitled to self-governance and self-determination.

I stand for the check and balances provided by the three departments of our government.  I oppose the usurpation of legislative functions by the executive and judicial departments.  If elected to the United States Senate I will work tirelessly to dismantle the Independent Commissions and Executive Agencies which usurp both legislative and judicial functions.

I unreservadly condemn the effort to maintain and elaborate in the United States an integrated national police system that blurs the lines between State-and-Federal, National-and-International and now threatens to destroy the last vestiges of liberty enjoyed by the citizens and legal residents of this Country.

I will demand that there be returned to the People to whom of right they belong, i.e. to all Citizens and Legal Residents, those powers needed for the preservation of human rights and the discharge of our responsibility as (small “d”) democratic- (small “r”) republicans for human welfare.

I oppose a denial of those by political parties, purchased by corporate and international interests, and if elected to the United States Senate I will work to undo every treaty and executive order or agreement which functions as a barter or sale of those rights by a political convention, as well as any invasion or violation of those rights by the Federal Government.

I will seek to abolish all immunities for executive, judicial, and legislative officers except those involving open and active debate and examination of issues, but will seek to reimpose the rule of law so that no governmental official, state or federal, will ever again be deemed “above the Constitution” or “immune from any suit at common law” or for violation of Constitutional rights.

I call upon all Americans who sincerely oppose totalitarianism at home and abroad to unite with me in ignominously defeating Dianne Feinstein and every other candidate for public office who support and maintain the Police State which has been established over the past 63-99 years in the United States of America since the creation of the Federal Reserve Banking system and the Federal Income Tax.

No Fault Divorce and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”

         Dr. Kathy Lawson, whom I have mentioned often on these pages as one of the most serious defense-of-marriage advocates I know, sent me this very interesting link just earlier this evening:
          I hope you will all watch it and maybe think about its significance.  I have been working with Kathy, a psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida, and have only the highest regard for her and her work.
        All of us have a duty, I think to try to defend the basic institutions of civilized society, and nothing is more important than marriage and the family.  It is complex, it is sometimes as awkward and difficult as original sin in the Garden of Eden, and it is widely misunderstood.
            As Don Henley’s song goes, “we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales….this is the end of the innocence.”
         In my life experience, and somewhat ironically, the Troubadours of the Middle Ages knew, understood, and articulated best the falseness of certain fairtales when they told of the complex and ambiguous, relationship between marriage and love and the position of Knights and their Lady loves.
         There is a reason why the Arthurian stories of Tristan und Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere, have endured as the greatest love stories through the ages: these are not fairytales nor are they poisoned by false innocence—they accept people as they really are and try to bring out the best of our post-Edenic humanity.

Sean Michael Parks arrested; is Catherine Bryan of Kokopelli Community Workshop Next?

Affidavit of John W Roberts for Arrest of Sean Michael Park USDC SDCA 10-2011 Sean Michael Park’s Arrest Docket 10-21-2011 to 10-27-2011

The jails seem to be filling up, these days, with people who fight the Banking System.  There are at least two ways of looking at this growing trend and phenomenon:

(1)    Individuals who engage in high profile litigation draw attention to themselves and heightened scrutiny of their activities.  (This is the perspective most favorable to the Government).  “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw bricks”—so if you have any potentially smelly corpses or skeletons in your closet, you should not draw attention to yourself.

(2)    Individuals who make a career out of challenging the status quo should expect to be squashed like bugs because, after all, from the standpoint of the ruling elite, that’s exactly what the challengers are: annoying bugs who stand in the way of the rich getting richer (but they won’t stand in the way for long). (This is, perhaps, the more realistic perspective).

What’s curious about the timing of the case of Sean Michael Parks is that he and Catherine Bryan have both been jointly and severally accused (albeit, so far, informally) of embezzlement by conspiracy, inducing a criminal breach of fiduciary duty, and wire-fraud by one or more “fellow-travellers”, activists in the Mortgage Foreclosure Protest movement.   

Sean Michael Park’s accusing fellow-travellers choose to remain anonymous for the moment and has asked me for an ethics opinion: when revolutionaries betray each other, should the betrayed party seek the assistance of or invoke the power of the government to squash his treacherous erstwhile compatriot?

Theft of small amounts of money from a Bank, or fraudulent statements regarding small amounts of money to a U.S. Court, positively pales in comparison with the massive epic frauds of which (those of us who have studied the matter) know the American Banks and Securities-Financial Industry generally to be guilty.

But when wealthier activists, protesters, and revolutionaries such as Sean Michael Park steal from poorer activists, protesters and revolutionaries, it demeans the movement, hurts the poor, and only helps the counter-revolution.  

Revealing a fellow-traveller’s allegations of treachery of people like Sean Michael Park and Catherine Bryan to the world at large would never help our cause, but neither does letting them get by with their cunning, back-stabbing ways.  Is it worse to let one or two bad eggs in the movement crack if they’re really guilty of crimes even against their fellows or should activists, protesters, and revolutionaries stick together against the Financial-Government-Industrial Complex at all costs?  What, in short, is the moral obligation of “we who are still free?”  Should we use the corrupt system to settle our disputes with one-another and subject the treacherous among us to the worst penalties that all of us know we face for our activism?  Or should we suffer and withstand the injuries the treacherous and greedy within our ranks inflict on us so that we can stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” against the greater enemy, which eventually wants to imprison all of us on charges which may be true or false, serious or trivial, it hardly matters so long as they push us out of the way.

So, the victim(s) of Sean Michael Park and Catherine Bryan is perplexed, and wonders what s/he should do?  Should he add his or her complaint to the Federal Prosecutor’s arsenal against Sean Michael Park and Catherine Bryan or should he stand by his or her fellow-travellers and deal with their treachery in some other way?

A rumor is floating around that someone inside the FBI or U.S. Attorneys office has speculated that Sean Michael Park might be released, and prosecution deferred, if Park would drop all of his numerous challenges to various foreclosure proceedings against his property, including his challenge to the Summary Judicial Eviction order against him for his home.  This rumor (unsubstantiated at present) would strongly suggest that the prosecution against Sean Michael Park is merely pretextual.  

It is noteworthy, in this connexion, that the charges against Sean Michael Park relate to transactions with, financial instruments allegedly received from (or pretended to be received from) his tenants in various rental properties.

It is standard practice and procedure for the Banksters to arrange to poison relationships between real-estate investors and their tenants, to give the tenants rewards or special favors for turning against their small investor-landlords in favor of the banks/secured financial industry specialists.  “Possession is 9 points on the law” and the loyalty or lack of loyalty of tenants is an easy way to transfer possession from one “claimant” of ownership to another.  

So the Banks cut deals with tenants and this is what they may have done with Sean Michael Park’s tenants.  I have no actual knowledge of anything that happened in relation to the Complaint or Criminal Charges against Sean Michael Park, and I have heard from fellow activists that Sean Michael Park and Catherine Bryan are swindlers and embezzlers.  But I submit that it is at least possible that the Banks gave the tenants false/forged cashier’s checks or money orders for free, precisely with the long-term plan of entrapping Sean Michael Park.  I haven’t examined the forgeries—I haven’t even seen pictures of them, but if they are GOOD forgeries—well, to the best of my knowledge, Sean Michael Park was an AIRLINE FLIGHT ATTENDANT before he was a real-estate investor, and the opportunities for learning how to be a skillful forger of cashier’s checks in the position of AIRLINE STEWARD or FLIGHT ATTENDANT are, to the best of my knowledge, slim-to-none, minimal at best.

But the coincidence troubles me: some of Sean Michael Park’s most sympathetic allies felt he had betrayed and cheated them, in the most outrageous and egregious manner possible.  

Conspiracy to Embezzle Funds held in Fiduciary Capacity is a crime having no elements in common with Obstruction of Justice or Perjury or Forgery of Evidence except general dishonesty and  mens rea.   

So here’s the ethics question: what should the offended co-traveller do?  Assist in the prosecution of Sean Michael Park or assist in his defense?  

As all the world knows, I have been the victim of malicious prosecution myself—not once but at least on two completely separate and distinct occasions.  I have the maximum possible sympathy for the many activists and protesters who have been indicted more because of their beliefs and ideologically motivated activism than because of any real wrongdoing.   

But I always like to point out that some of the strongest evidence my persecutors in Texas ever used against me was that I gave a refund to clients and a bonus to employees who claimed dissatisfaction with my services and/or patronage.  Several lawyers in Texas told me that no lawyer ever makes a refund to any client, so it was extremely suspicious that I did.  Sean Michael Park and Catherine Bryan have not made any refund to the party they cheated and from whom they conspired to embezzle.

My Mother’s Birthday, October 29: In Thanks for Everything She Taught Me and All She Inspired in Me

What can one say about a birthday that coincides with a day of National Disaster?  There were surely children born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, and I know of children born on September 11, 2001 (and people who got married that day also).  But my mother Alice Eugenie was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 29, which in 1929 was known as “Black Tuesday”.  Oddly enough, through the vicissitudes of the family trust funds, stocks and their value have played a large role in her life ever after, but I’m sure that was only coincidence.  Because parenthood and family are complex issues in the modern world, I just want to thank my mother for the good things I associate with her in my life, to wish her a Happy Birthday, on the 82nd Anniversary of the Stock Market Crash, and her life:

(1)   My mother taught me to pray, and to be proud of doing so. The earliest religious lesson I can recall, other than showing me how to pray at night before bed, was that she taught me to recite the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, Le Chanson de Marie, in both English and French.  She taught me that the Magnificat was the essential story of motherhood and its importance in the world.  “My soul doth Magnify the Lord, and my Spirit hath Rejoiced in the Strength of My Salvation.  And behold from henceforth, all generations shall call me Blessed.”  My mother gave me the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer and made sure I studied it from earliest age onwards.  She told me that ours was “the one true Church.”  (Her mother, my grandmother Helen, accused my mother of being something of a “Pharisee”—“Churchy”, she said, but today is a day to celebrate the fact that, unlike most people in the modern world, my mother made sure that I had only one religious affiliation in my life and that I stuck to it, and I think of her every time I go to Church, and during at least half the hymns and prayers of every Eucharist, Morning, and Evening Prayer, and Compline whenever they have it—although in my recent life that would be only at the Christ Church Cathedral on Burrard Street in Vancouver in the Archdiocese of the New Westminster).  My mother also introduced me to the Prophecies of Isaiah, and taught me the importance of that greatest of all the teachers of the Hebrew Bible, foretelling of the coming of the Messiah.

(2)   My mother taught me cultural heritage, especially music, starting with songs about Robin Hood, and an old book with line drawings in which the Ballads of Robin Hood were collected.  In regard to Robin Hood, she taught me at a very early age to look to distinguish history from mythology.  She also taught me the importance of cultural memory, although she called it “the racial subconscious.”  She taught me about Jungian Archetypes and Musical Leitmotives.  She encouraged me to sing, and started me on the piano and violin, but sadly I did inherited neither her perfect pitch nor her long and nimble fingers (instead I got my father’s stubby and rather crooked fingers).  I am fairly musically talented and aware compared to most, but I was tone-deaf compared to my mother.   She tried to teach me to sight sing from sheet music, but this I was never able to do.

(3)  In connexion with music, she taught me a love of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Henry Purcell, Madrigals, Motets, and Richard Wagner, although not necessarily in that order.  Now everyone in my family loved Wagner, especially my Aunt Mildred whose old house with high ceilings, chandeliers, and plaster moldings always seemed to echo with old mono-recordings of Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad, but my mother and Mildred were extremely close.  My mother’s devotion to all things musical was much more intense and academic.

(4)  My mother taught me to love books and all things academic, especially maps and poetry (I realize that’s an odd pairing).  After the Book of Common Prayer and the Ballads of Robin Hood, the next most important book or series of books I remember her giving me were the Shepherd’s Historical Atlas, the Oxford World Atlas, and several other map collections.  In the same vein she introduced me to Ptolemy’s Geography, to ancient Maps and Memories both of Atlantis and of Primordial Chaos, and to Aristotle’s and Plato’s view of the world, and how Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Thomas Aquinas helped merged Pagan Philosophy and Christian Faith.

(5)   And then she made sure I learned our mythic history, King Arthur and Boadicea, and Caractacus, and made sure that I learned the more conventional Kings of England and to “quote the Fights Historical, from Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.”  I loved to study English history and literature with my mother.  It seems our time together on such things was mostly limited to her telling me what to read and giving me books, but she did a lot of that: I had read all of T.S. Eliot from Murder in the Cathedral to J. Alfred Prufrock, the Four Quartets, and the Wasteland by the time I was 11, plus the Cantos of Ezra Pound.  My mother took particular care that I know the story of St. Thomas a Becket and why his Martyrdom at Canterbury was so important to the English people.  And yes, my mother, together with her father my grandfather, who was normally a fairly distant figure, made sure that I knew all the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan by memory, pretty much also by the time I was 11 or 12.

(6)   I wish I could say that my mother and I had had a great many good times together, but I will just say that one of the best times we had in my life was when she was criticizing and editing my doctoral dissertation: I would send her draft chapters and she would read them and severely comment on my semantics and grammar.  She was much harder on me than any member of my actual dissertation committee at Harvard, and for that I will always be eternally grateful.  I also remember fondly the beautiful green dress she wore to my graduation—she looked like Queen Elizabeth II, only better.

(7)   So on her birthday, I celebrate and give thanks to my mother for all she gave me.  I know I am only listing a few of the intellectual things I took from her, my first and greatest teacher.  In this little birthday essay I will dwell on nothing but the positive, except to say that many things have intervened, and not all of family life is harmonious.  My mother has great faith in the large corporate banking institutions which I have come to despise, and this has been a source of some significant tension between us over the years.   Could her love of banks and “corporate trusts” have anything to do with her birthdate?  The relationship between character and astrology is in my view pretty much totally mythical, but it is hard to say that the influence of the historical context of our births is not real.  

Modern Child’s Play as Myth and Metaphor for our Times: the Gender Neuter Pokemon of Endless Nightmares


Darkrai’s legs

Darkrai is a black, shadow-like creature. It has a small head with a white fog-like ghostly substance billowing from its head covering one of its bright blue eyes, and also has a red spiky growth around its neck. It has skinny arms and long black tatters hanging from its shoulders. It also has black, claw-like hands. It has the slight appearance of an hourglass figure and appears to be wearing an old, ripped cloak. It normally doesn’t have any sort of legs, but it is able to extend stilt-like appendages in their place. In self-defense, Darkrai also appears capable of retracting its head and white “plume” into the pit atop its torso fringed by the aforementioned red growth.

Gender differences

Darkrai is a genderless species.

Special abilities

Darkrai is know for its ability to put people and Pokémon in endless nightmares only stopped if close to a lunar wing from Cresselia. It can become a shadow and escape danger or contact of humans, but it is still capable to take damage by special attacks (eg: Thunderbolt,Flamethrower, Water Pulse, etc.) in this state. It is also capable of little human speech. In The Rise of Darkrai, it was shown its power was little of that of Dialga and Palkia.

Darkrai is the only known Pokémon that learns Dark Void.


This Pokémon “inhabits” people’s dreams and causes them to have unending terrible nightmares. In Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, it is stated that the only way a person can wake from one of these nightmares is to be exposed to the Lunar Wing of Cresselia. Contrary to popular belief, this “unleashing of nightmares” is in fact a defense mechanism, rather than something of malicious intent. Also, in the Anime at least, these nightmares are not never ending, as most victims are able to wake up normally, though it appears if Dark Void is used they cannot until the attack wears off.

Judge Michael Jergins of the 395th Judicial District of Williamson County once recommended that instead of trying to educate my son Charlie IV regarding the Bible, History, and the Constitution, and teach him some elementary ethics and self-respect, I should encourage him to play with “Yu-gi-oh” cards.

The hilarious irony of this advice was that, in happier times, in the late 1990s before all our troubles started in earnest, or during the earliest stages of them, my son and I had been avid collectors of Pokemon Cards, Videos, Tokens, everything.  I admit that I was suspicious of Pokemon’s as “mental conditioning” to make children think that Genetically Modified Organisms (especially plant-animal-hybrids, including even weird fungal-avian fish-and-tree crosses were both normal in the world and morally acceptable to think about).  But Pokemon cards were colorful and beautiful and mostly had good, heroic stories with them.  But that was in the late 1990s and first few years of the New Millenium.

Apparently, during the horrible years of George W. Bush and Obama, Pokemon, like everything else, turned dark.

This came home to me tonight at a mediation in Beverly Hills between Iranian Jews and Russian/Ashkenazic Jews.  It is widely recognized that Iranian Jews form a special kind of Elite in Beverly Hills.  I have previously written that there really aren’t many “Drysdales” or “Clampetts” left in Beverly Hills, even though I personally go to All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills where I was confirmed in April 1974.  I shan’t dwell on the details of this case or mediation except to say it was extremely disagreeable.

Sitting on the desk to which I and my client were assigned, however, was a Pokemon Pencil with an unfamiliar Icon.  During the endless lulls in the back-and-forth of mediation, I studied this Pokemon on my I-Phone (talk about a “Brave New World” way to pass the time) and discovered it was “Darkrai—first revealed in February 2007.”  I include the description of Darkrai above.

“Darkrai” was clearly the ideal Pokemon for both the setting of this mediation and the arguments carried on therein.  ENDLESS NIGHTMARES—the end of my America, the end of my parents’ America, the end of my Grandparents’ America.  All were so clearly delineated in this event.  Two Rabbis were the presiding mediators. The setting was a Rabbinical Library with a quite unpronounceable name.  It was quite unlike anything I had experienced before, and the result was still a referral of all financial awards to a Jewish Rabbinical Court, Beit Din.  The Rabbis involved had no binding authority, apparently, and very little persuasive authority.  Still, as an exercise in Legal Anthropology, it was very, very interesting.  

The origin of the “Darkrai” pencil on the table remains a mystery to me.  Perhaps it was placed there to remind me of the relationship between Brave New World of Genetically Modified Organisms and the “Shake-and-Bake” Ethnic Society of the Modern World.

Perhaps it was only there to make me acutely conscious of the “Endless Nightmare” into which I had stepped.  The earlier generation of Pokemons included some mildly “creepy” creatures, including “Psyduck” with his endless headaches and psychokinetic powers, Ghastly, and even “Golem” (and yes, as a matter of fact a “Golem” is a kind of Jewish Zombie or Vampire made of earth…as celebrated in the stories of the “Golem of Prague”, the “Krakow Golem”, one amazing episode of the “X-Files”, and even speculations that Superman might have been the structural and mythic derivative of a Golem….).  But a Pokemon of Endless Nightmares that was discovered in February 2007—that was a very interesting discovery on a very interesting night.