Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mermaids

Robert Oppenheimer went to New Mexico as a youth to recuperate from tuberculosis. He later said he had two loves, physics and New Mexico. Would there be a way to combine them?

Eugene O'Neill had TB, as did Paul √Čluard. Albert Camus suffered TB, an ailment compounded by heavy smoking, but though TB toiled away for years, a car crash killed Camus within seconds.

My cousin Christopher, whose middle name was Camus, was killed in the Catskills by a hit-and-run driver, never apprehended.

Emma Goldman ranted incessantly about how stupid people are. Asked by her long-time companion, Alexander Berkman, how she could reconcile that conviction with her drive for anarchy, she was unable to answer the question. 

Watching the 'gadget' explode in Los Alamos in 1945, Oppenheimer thought of the lines from the Bhagavda Gita, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

Miles away a girl who had been blind from birth saw the light of the explosion.

Centuries ago, the existence of mermaids was widely accepted as true. In winter 1493, Columbus wrote in his journal that three of the creatures had been sighted off the coast. They "rose well out of the sea, but were not so beautiful as they paint them."

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Thanks for Meghan Howland for the image. 

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