My Body is a Cage

     I rode hard all day and now I can’t sleep.  Blinking owlishly at the computer monitor.  

      I found a paperback copy of The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559, by Eugene F. Rice, Jr. on the sidewalk by a trash can on 1st Avenue.  Why would someone throw out a good book like this?  I started reading it.  It’s an excellent book.  I’m at the part where Dr. Rice explains how gunpowder transformed warfare.  Check this out: 

At the siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Sultan Mahomet II (ruled 1451-1481), who had German and Hungarian cannon founders in his service, was able to deploy against the astonished Byzantines fourteen batteries, each of several great bombards, plus fifty-six smaller cannon of various types.  Most spectacular of all were two enormous guns which fired stone balls nearly three feet in diameter and weighing each over eight hundred pounds.  The guns required seventy oxen each and more than a thousand men to move them from Adrianople, where they were cast, to the Bosporus. (p. 11)

     What I wouldn’t give to see that…!

      The previous owner of this book didn’t highlight any passages or make notes in the margins.  The only clue he or she left is a yellowed postcard of Portrait of Erasmus by Quentin Metsys, 1517.  The postcard seems to have been used as a bookmark. 

     I also like Westerns.  The first Western was The Last of the Mohicans. I find the genre fascinating.

      I heartily recommend that everyone see Death Valley, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park before they die.  God, the air there is so clean.  I smell it in my dreams.  The fish in the streams were perfect.  Fingerling trout.  Nice wholesome freshwater fish, and the riverbed made of quartz gravel…and the skies…

      Still can’t sleep.  YouTube to the rescue.

      Just because you’ve forgotten 
      That don’t mean you’re forgiven

My Body is a Cage from JT Helms on Vimeo.

2 thoughts on “My Body is a Cage”

  1. Movie buffs will recognize the video is from Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West.” Henry Fonda said it was one of his favorite films because it was one of the few where he got to play a bad guy.


    1. Hi Mike,

      And what a bad guy he was!

      I think “Once Upon a Time in the West” is one of the best westerns ever made. I’m a big fan of Sergio Leone’s work. It’s highly stylized and dramatic, but Leone pulls it off. In the hands of a lesser artist, these plots would be absurd cornball. Watching his best films is like watching good opera.

      And the aesthetics are gorgeous.

      I am fascinated by the scene where the boy is supporting the body of his hanging father. It interests me because I identify with all three characters.

      See the look on his face at 2:07? Sadism.

      Thanks for the comment, Mike.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.