The Friday Diet….

Friday is here, and I am heading out for some work with Morgan. The new magazine is shaping up and we continue to get feed-back on it. (mostly positive – but some good criticisms as well regarding lay-out etc.) If you have something for the magazine, this would be the time to get it out to me….

Rowan is working away on his part of ‘Guys and Dolls’ at his H.S.. He is choreographing the Cuban fight scene, and is one of the principle dancers. His creativity just keeps ramping up.

Have a good weekend, and enjoy the time with friends and family!



On The Menu:

The Links

Wade Davis on the Ethnosphere

Three Koans

The Poetry of Francois Villon

Francois Villon Biography

Paintings by Edward Burne-Jones


The Links:

Granny finds grenade in groceries

Ancient Prickly Bugs Discovered

Volcano Blows as Space Probe Flies By

Mysterious circles found in Rio Grande


Wade Davis on the Ethnosphere…


Three Koans…

A Drop of Water

A Zen master named Gisan asked a young student to bring him a pail of water to cool his bath.

The student brought the water and, after cooling the bath, threw on to the ground the little that was left over.

“You dunce!” the master scolded him. “Why didn’t you give the rest of the water to the plants? What right have you to waste even a drop of water in this temple?”

The young student attained Zen in that instant. He changed his name to Tekisui, which means a drop of water.

Your Light May Go Out

A student of Tendai, a philosophical school of Buddhism, came to the Zen abode of Gasan as a pupil. When he was departing a few years later, Gasan warned him: “Studying the truth speculatively is useful as a way of collecting preaching material. But remember that unless you meditate constantly your light of truth may go out.”

The Stone Mind

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: “There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?”

One of the monks replied: “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.”

“Your head must feel very heavy,” observed Hogen, “if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.”



The Poetry of Francois Villon


Whilst it is held they have the chat,

the girls of Florence and of Venice,

enough to have it all off pat,

even the old girls who’re no menace:

though Lombards, Romans, know their tennis;

Genoa girls, Piedmonts among

Savoie lasses – I’ll risk my pennies

Parisian is your only tongue.

They highly prize the skill of chat

in Naples, that’s what people say,

and Germans, Prussian girls don’t bat

an eyelid when they prattle all day:

Egyptian, Greek and all the way

through Hungary even when sung,

by Spanish, Catalan girls at play –

Parisian is your only tongue.

Breton nor Swiss girls hardly know it,

nor do Toulouse nor Gascon fillies,

two Little Bridge fishwives’d blow it

and girls of Lorraine – they’re just sillies

as are the English and, where the will is,

the Calais girls (are all bells rung?).

No! From Valence the Picardies!

Parisian is your only tongue.


Prince, round the necks of Parisian crumpet

the prize for gabbing should be hung;

through some for Italians blow the trumpet,

Parisian is your only tongue


In arsenic that’s sulphurous and hot;

in orpiment, in saltpetre and quicklime;

in boiling lead which kills them on the spot

and, taken from a leper’s limbs, the slime;

in soot and pitch that’s been soaked for some time

and mingled with the piss and shit of Jews;

in scrapings from feet and from inside old shoes;

in viper’s blood and drugs from venom reaped;

in gall that wolves, foxes and badgers lose –

may all these envious tongues be fried and steeped.

In brain of cat which hunts for fish no more,

black, and so old he’s no tooth in his gums;

in spit and slavver of a mastiff hoar,

for what it’s worth, when maddened, up it comes;

in foam from a broken-winded mule which thumbs

have hacked with good sharp blades about;

and water where rats have plunged arse over snout,

frogs, too, and toads and poisonous beasts all heaped,

lizards and snakes and such fine kinds of trout –

may all these envious tongues be fried and steeped.

In sublimate dangerous to touch which passes

into the belly of a living snake;

in dry blood like that which one sees in masses

in barbers’ dishes, when the moon’s full, which take

one a black hue, the other green as a lake;

in cancers and growths and in those steaming vats

in which wet-nurses soak their this-and-thats;

in tiny baths where local whores have dipped

(if you’re now lost, you’ve never used the twats) –

may all these envious tongues be fried and steeped.

Prince, if you’ve neither colander nor sieve,

pass all these dainty morsels – none forgive –

amongst much muck and fetid trusses heaped,

but stir in pigshit first: and, thus captive,

may all these envious tongues be fried and steeped.


Whether you hawk your pardons round.

whether card-sharp or play at dice,

or forge your own coin, you’ll be found:

you’ll burn like those whom we despise,

those perjured traitors, faithless spies.

Rob, rape or pillage, break all laws,

where does the loot go you so prize?

Straight to the taverns and the whores.

Chant, rant, bash drums and lutes,

act mad and shameless, play the fool;

prance round or shamble, toot the flutes;

be it in town or city, make it the rule

to make ‘em laugh with farce, or cool

with moralities out of doors.

Well as it goes, there’s always some who’ll

straight to the taverns and the whores.

What kind of shit will you not eat?

Sweat with a fork in mead and field,

muck out the stables for a treat

if pen and ink you cannot wield,

you’ll make enough, a niche it’ll yield.

But whether with hemp or lime your chores,

was it for this your pay’s springheeled

straight to the taverns and the whores?

To cap all this then, take your shoes,

your straight-leg jeans, your gear, don’t pause,

take suits, take shirts, all you can lose

straight to the taverns and the whores.


François Villon (ca. 1431 – after 5 January 1463) was a French poet, thief, and vagabond. He is perhaps best known for his Testaments and his Ballade des Pendus, written while in prison. The question “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?”, taken from the Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis and translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as “Where are the snows of yesteryear?”, is one of the most famous lines of translated secular poetry in the English-speaking world. It is worth noticing that 15th Century French was not pronounced like modern French — for instance, Villon is pronounced as spelled and not as “Viyon”.

Francois Montcorbier (Villon) was born to a poor young couple in Paris. Villon’s father died when the poet was very young and Guillaume de Villon, a well to do chaplain who was a professor of ecclesiastical law at the University of Paris, took Villon in. His academic success allowed Villon to enter the university and obtain both a bachelor (1449) and masters degree (1452), though he seemed to spend more time enjoying the liberal freedoms that students were allowed at the time.

Possibly because of poverty, Villon seemed to be drawn toward the sordid element – thieves, defrocked priests and revolutionary student groups. Villon found them in the seedy taverns where he frequently caroused. He engaged in a short romantic affair with a young lady and later received a humiliating thrashing because of it. Villon became bitter toward the rich and was driven deeper into his involvement with the criminal contingent. In June 1455 Villon fatally wounded a priest who had entered a tavern denying God and began quarreling with Villon and his drinking companions. Villon was banished from Paris for the crime. Villon was allowed to return to Paris in 1456 after being pardoned for the killing on grounds of self defense.

The next year Villon was banished again for stealing from the College of Navarre with his criminal compatriots who had formed Coquille, something akin to a small Mafia. Before fleeing Paris, Villon wrote The Legacy, a tongue in cheek poem bequeathing his real and imaginary wealth to various ‘deserving’ people and institutions. The Coquille conducted a crime spree throughout the north of France, robbing mainly churches and clergy, including Villon’s own wealthy uncle. At the same time, Villon continued writing poetry that became popular among his criminal friends because of its use of their lingo and its attacks on many well known people and institutions. However, the authorities began arresting and hanging many of his gang so, in 1457, Villon sought refuge with the Duke of Orleans, a fellow poet and admirer of Villon’s work. Villon was again sent to prison for theft, but he was quickly pardoned on the occasion of the birth of the Duke’s daughter several months later. From this point, Villon lived a vagabond existence of petty theft while wandering through the pleasant French countryside.

He returned to his benefactor the Duke in 1861. As usual, his freedom did not last long. He was imprisoned for a minor crime and yet again pardoned a few months later when the newly crowned King passed through the town where he was imprisoned. Villon returned to Paris where he was arrested several more times for theft and brawling, but was soon released by virtue of some fortunate circumstance. His luck finally ran out when he was arrested for fighting and sentenced to the gallows. While awaiting the noose, Villon composed a brilliant poem about his own execution and the injustice of man. However, a last minute appeal to Parliament got his sentenced reduced to 10 years banishment from Paris in 1863. He was never heard from again. He was 34 years old. His poetry continued to gain popularity in Paris and throughout France where it went into seven printings.

Between times in prison he produced volumes of what are still considered by many to be the finest French lyric verse ever written. His poem, Le Petit Testament (The Small Testament), known also as Le Lais (The Legacy), was composed about 1455, and Villon’s other long poem, Le Grand Testament (The Large Testament), known also simply as Le Testament, soon followed.

The “Testaments” are mock or imaginary wills in which bequests are made alternately with compassion and with irony. For example, to the Holy Trinity, Villon leaves his soul; to the earth, his body; to a Parisian, Denis, some stolen wine; to a madman, his glasses; to a lover, all the women he wants. At least two of Villon’s shorter poems – Ballad of Hanged Men and I Am Francois, They Have Caught Me – were composed in 1462 while under sentance of death.

Some of Villon’s poetry was translated into English by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Swinburne, and, in the 20th century, Ezra Pound. Francois Villon did not leave a large literary legacy (only about 3300 lines). ..


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