Friday, August 10, 2007

Is this the picture of Joe Pfstplk, the guy with the black cloud over his head?

I am too dumb to access any recent pictures of my 100-year-old mother; I switched computers and that's maybe where I lost them--but I wish I could put her picture up here all the same.

Questions come up: What is the colour of your mother's eyes? Strangely, few can answer.

Anyway, I am always amazed at something called Mother-wit--Pallas Athena for you classical types-- the driving intelligence of wandering and violent Odysseus, from the ODYSSEY, that old Greek Bible,(Part Two) that we seem to ignore these days of so-called enlightenment.

The old myths and and proto-Bibles have a certain fascination for some of us.

I saw myself at one point as Odysseus, took up the Odyssey myself, came back home only to find that the suitors had won.

Sh*t. This wasn't in the book.

Maybe that's why universtities these days don't put much stock in ancient myths.

While at Toronto U, I kept looking in the stacks for old copies of student notes in Plato's academy.
Couldn't find any.

A librarian finally set me straight. These were religions.
And my classics prof, who English, and (therefore?) somewhat biased, said that the three Big Philosophers were the world's first--wait for it!-- fascists, Communists.

Ah well. So many Englishmen seem to go that way. Maybe Dr. French had been in a fight with Dr. Roth over in the philosophy department. I don't know.

But there has to be something said for mother-wit, a quality somehow lacking in all the great philosophers.

Says the late and great Kurt Vonnegut Jr.:" A Socratic dialogue:
'The whole is greater than the part, right kid?
'Ok. Now bend over.'

"All Greek philosyphy is one big bum-f*ck."

I am glad to see that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. never lost his edge. Heh.

So I go by mother-wit.

My mother had grade three education, but she could speak and write in five languages (Most Europeans can).

She got me into a mind-bend that suggests when a society's icon flip over, accelerated social change will surely come. She knows about social change. She has been through a number of wars.
(Most striking, almost crass example of a society's icons flipping over, is, of course, is 911).

She also said pictures of the dead in newspapers are always grainy. The same with the typography on the money of a failed nation.

Where does an old peasant lady pick up all those things?

Don't know.

I have, for some reason dug up an old picture of myself.

Oh I hope--I sincerely hope that my mother is wrong.

It is grainy.

Maybe I'm trying to ward off something.

Bit mawkish, what?



P.S.: My mother looks exactly like the Queen of England, Elizabeth II.

And, darn it, so do I.

Heaven forbid that I've always wanted to be a queen! :)



Ruth said...

Ivan..I truely love reading your blog, I feel I'm increasing my education by reading it. You are truly brillant and I need to re-read it several times to understand I'm just a simply soul ya know.

I do enjoy it, keep it going and maybe I'll become smart!! Naw said...



Oh we try. We really try!

Ivan said...

See how hard we try?

I had Rth instead of Ruth. :)


Ruth said...

lol..well, then I at least know you are human!!

Sienna said...

Mother's eyes are hazel, I have my Dad's eyes-blue.

Your picture is so different to the young Ivan (JR!)...sort of a Marlon Brando-Steve McQueen thing going down here....before Monty Roberts kicks in.

Hope your family is okay...long live Odysseus...

Pam said...


Blue eyes are nice.

Also guaranteed fast-line at the airport.

Brando- McQueen? Flattered!


EA Monroe said...

Wow, for a minute I thought I was looking at a photo of either Sting or Harrison Ford!

My mom's eyes are green and slanted; my eyes are blue -- inherited from a blue-eyed Cherokee great-great-something-grandma.

I hope you find the photo of your mom! said...


You girls are just too nice.

Some antique Cherokees had blue eyes?
There is a theory that the Red-Paint people were Caucasian. like about 20,000 years ago.

Green eyes.
What have we here?

I think we're all related!


Donnetta Lee said...

My mother's eyes are also hazel. She was a beauty when she was younger. Still a beauty inside, and pops up with all kinds of words of wisdom. Her philosophy of people in general: "Everybody's nuts!" Oh, how true.
Donnetta said...


I'm sane.

(To invisible object just off the field of vision):


the walking man said...

My moms eyes were brown, mine are blue, all of my siblings have her eye color, my grandmother 105 when she went to the place of rest had blue eyes.

Ivan without the grain there would be no picture and the Odessy was full of grit and grain.

Personally if I had any uncles left I think I'd like them to look and be like you; a man of true grit.



mark said...


Your grandmother was 105?

That is a good portent!

(And thank you).


Josie said...

My mother had the bluest eyes I ever saw. Like periwinkle. Mine are blue too, but darker blue.

It's so nice to see a man who loves his mother, boychik. I'll bet she's adorable. I was only 39 when I lost my mother, and we all know the story about the rest of my, um, family. I am truly an orphan.

You do have sort of a Harrison Ford thing going on in that picture. And someone else too - a British actor. I can't quite think of his name.

Isn't it nice to see Donnetta back????

Josie said...

Where are you tonight, oh fearless leader? The Quarks are out in full force. :-) said...


...Forget which play (King Lear?), where the king is drinking strong ale,into the wee hours, mugs of it.
"How're yer gonna run the country, Nuncle, should some emergency come up, and you are in your cups?"

I am too lazy (and addled?) to find the actual quote, but if it was from King Lear, it might be of interest that the king had two daughters, one loyal and good, the other bad. Regan and Goneril.

How did Shakespeare come up with all this stuff never seen before by god or by man?
Maybe he was just a five-pointed-star man, an early Anton de Vey, but the genius does come through.

Democracy and playwriting are certainly older than philosophy.

Old Seneca, probably Shakepeare's inspiration, certainly knew a couple of things about us humans and our ways.


Fearless leader didn't have the energy to go out tonight so he did an Oscar Wilde ("the best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it.")

Drunk agin'.

One wonders if the grog is a substitute for something.

If so, overdog may be a sick puppy.
Ah, the dead hand of intellectualism.
I think Pam is right.

Last time the instructor annou
nced that he needed to get laid, five hands went up in a creative writing class.

Talk about abuse of power!

And nowadays, lack of power corrupts, and "absolutely", Lord Acton be damned!

Oh, say it on in plain Manitoba Ukrainian--"No money, no funny!"

Where have all my concubines gone?

Sure like the idea of Odysseus, not- at- all- an -overrrated stick man, tended by gentle nymphs, dallying, say, with Nusicaa, on some fantasy island... And poor Penelope holding up the mortgage back home, raddled by suitors.

Says old Hobbes, conservative philosopher, "Life is solitary, nasty, brutish, and short."

I fear that over here, one is also
"Nasty, Brutish and short" for sure.

Maybe I should read my Don Quizote again.
The episode with the Muleteers.

"Where is Eldonza, the whore?"

I suppose even old St. John had his problems, over there in Babylon.

O for the days of beautiful lovers
(we write for this, do we not) and the late-night comfort of "Okay, lets get rid of all this piss and vinegar."

Ivan said...

Hi Donnetta,

Gland to see your health seems on the mend.
We were all pretty worried.


I gotta stop blogging drunk.
Just looked at my last comment--sure was ramblin'.

Well, at least I think I have one thing in common with rising Comedy Cenral star Stephen Colbert.

Says he sends out emails to strangers when he's drunk.

...Talk about emails.

I just got one from an irate story subject from back in my days in journalism.
Thirty-three years later, the poor woman is (justifiably) upset over what I'd said about her husband in print.
Maybe she and my ex should hang around together. The poor ex has been upset for 30 years.
Could it be, could it just be that we have to be devils to earn our halos?

the walking man said...

105 yep her mom went to 106 and 6 of her seven sisters went to 102/103 and the youngest went to 95. All of them except my Grandmother stayed near home in Carlton county near Ottawa.

Peace and beer

mark said...

I have lived in the Ottawa Valley.
I know Carlton Place.

God's country! Nothing like it. Nothing like the people. Give you the shirt off their backs, French, Irish or English.
Everybody gets along.