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War And The Army And Kafka

kafka115_v-contentxl

Kafka recorded the beginning of the First World War in his diary this way:

August 2, 1914: Germany has declared war on Russia. Went swimming in the afternoon.

That was it.

But, regardless of his lack of enthusiasm, Kafka believed in the duties of the citizen. He tried to join the army to fight. In fact, he tried to join a number of times. He was always refused because the government deemed his civil/government job was too important for him to relinquish.

But, near the end of the war, when Kafka was so sick he had lengthy periods of leave from his job to recuperate, the army came calling.  Kafka had to appear before authorities with medical proof of his illness.

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I ‘fill in’ one of his diary entries describing such a situation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

07 February 1918

I find I must go to Prague at the end of next week. Such knowledge is proof that one should not open one’s mail. The Military yet again wishes to snare me, and I must once again prove that my hide is not worth the effort.

There were time (very rare) when my father would despair. Not his usual anger at the general incompetence and perfidy of the world around him, but a resignation to the belief that things would never get any better.

“If they want to drag me down,” he would say, “Then I may as well join them. I’ll go out into the street and let myself be swept away by the mob. I’ll become part of their common, grubby life, and let them wipe their boots on me.”

That is much as I feel right now. Let the army take me, dress me in their uniform, point me toward the Americans, and have some cowboy shoot me. Going into battle could be no worse than going into Prague.

[Image] https://www.ndr.de/kultur/buch/tipps/kafka115_v-contentxl.jpg

Nixon And Trump Walk Into A Bar

19nixon-01-nixon-videosixteenbyninejumbo1600

 

~ Mr. President.

~ President Tricky.

~You know I’m dead, right?

~I’m not one for details.

~It was details that did me in.

~I just dined with the Queen and was right jolly.

~So?

~So, I didn’t spill soup. I can handle details.

~You didn’t spill soup when we ate together, either.

~We had some good talks then – thanks.

~ You’re trying to replace me.

~ What?

~ In the affections of the American people.

~ Have you been drinking?

~ Fucking A about that. You are ruining my reputation.

~ I don’t even think about your reputation – believe me.

~ But you’re pulling a Nixon.

~ Not even close, Dick. May I call you Dick?

~ Sure, Donny. Is it true you don’t drink?

~ Not a drop.

~ Jesus – you do this stuff sober?

~ I’ve got the Will of the People and the Blessing of God.

~ God doesn’t give a shit.

~ I know that. And neither do the People.

~ They’ll take you down, Donny.

~ That was a big part of your problem, Dick.

~ What?

~ You cared what people thought of you.

~ They brought me down – the bastards.

~ Yeh – but you lived out your life OK.

~ Heh! I became an Elder Statesman.

~ And kept out of prison.

~ If I had sung, I would have brought down the whole corrupt Elite with me.

~ If I drank, I’d drink to that, Dick.

~ So, Donny, do you plan sticking around?

~ While I’m having fun – yeh.

Trump & #Twitter Have A Face-to-FAce

trump-twi_1485351060

~ I dunno, Donnie – it’s starting to seem that U R headed for the dumpster

~ That’s what U’ve said before.

~ Never this much – and with as much cause.

~ I’ll be here awhile – believe me.

~ Believe U?

~ Of course.

~@RealDonaldTrump – it’s me.

~ Oh, yes. I luvs ya, #Twitter.

~ I’ve read all that you tweet.

~ Lucky U. & THANKS for letting me use more words.

~ U like that?

~ I’ll tell you something about politicians.

~ Yes?

~ They love using a lot of words.

~ Yeh.

~ And so do I.

~ Politicians use a swamp of words.

~ And I’m draining the SWAMP.

~ There’s no way of bombing it?

~ Not when I’m living there. AND I’M STILL living there.

~ Donnie – that’s starting to seem less likely.

~U mean the talk of IMPEACHING my ass.

~ Wasn’t that the fake news?

~ And the real NEWS, too. Sons Of Bitches.

~ The courtroom is not your friend, Donnie.

~ Crooked juries. Crooked judges. Crooked lawyers.

~ U know about crooked lawyers, don’t U, Donnie?

~ Who knew they could be SO CROOKED?

(Image)http://www.defenseworld.net/uploads/news/big/trump-twi_1485351060.jpg

When The Government And Country Fell, from “Kafka In The Castle”

10

Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason.

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?” This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skillful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.) “What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?” And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin. I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands.

Look after each other.

The Commander-In-Chief Wants A Military Parade

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The Commander-In-Chief decided  it would be a grand day to become Admiral of the Fleet – Lord High Admiral if he chose the hat with cockade and plume. Nodding jauntily in the air, the plume put on an impressive display, as he either agreed, or disapproved, with a toss, or a shake, of his head. The dancing ostrich feathers would add a dashing air as he boarded his flagship and, with just the right mixture of stringent authority and well- tempered geniality, moved in imperious sweeps among the ranks of ratings on the aft deck. He would, of course, be extra careful about the pitfalls awaiting a man with ornate dress sword and scabbard, among the steep steps and narrow companionways.

****************

Wednesday would be khaki day for the Commander-In-Chief. It was the day set aside to remind him of the loyalty he must always retain from his men, for what was a leader without his troops? As a treat – for really, the dull brown did not make for a very striking appearance – he would chose the tank commander’s uniform. With its wide web belt and shiny black holster on the hip, flap unsnapped to reveal the butt of a wicked forty-five. And, of course, the black leather gloves, as befits a man at the controls of so much power, and the steel helmet polished to a mirror-shine. The riding crop? Ah, the riding crop was debatable.

***************

There would be a parade today, massed men at attention with stiffly held rifles and fixed bayonets. The Commander-In-Chief would have to chose carefully to represent his awesome power and responsibility. Cavalry boots would be a must, raising half-way up the calf and resounding with silver spurs, steel-tipped toes and heels. Then would come crisp black trousers, billowing majestically around the thighs, and kept up with a wide leather belt. He took care that each red stripe reaching the length of each leg was as straight as an arrow. His blue tunic, he decided, would have only muted decorations and the minimum of gold braid entwined about his shoulders. He was – after all – a Commander-In-Chief of the people.

DE

(image) https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8f/88/a9/8f88a9161d5401a644d9bb70f3c041f3.jpg

Franz Kafka Prepares For The End Of Civilization

kafka20strichmaennchen

(Image drawn by Franz Kafka)

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in his lost diaries.  Here, as the learned Doktor of Laws, he has been asked to speak to the citizens of the small village where he is living with his sister for a few months. He speaks the truth, and avoids the truth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?” This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skilful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.) “What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?” And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin. I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands. Look after each other.

 

16 January 1918

I did not tell them that war is the end result of injustice and arrogance, and that it is oftentimes necessary. I did not tell them that when the natural balance is upset by human action, the cost of righting it must be made in human payment. I did not tell them that a country where neighbour is cruel to neighbour is a country mean for war.

 

17 January 1918

I did not tell them how the Jews will always suffer in time of war. How we will be searched out, then driven as far as the east is from the west, and then be persecuted. How there will never be safety for us. Yea, even unto the land of Israel.

Trump And Bannon Walk Into A Bar

429285d700000578-4720054-image-a-74_1500700351359

~ Now whose the dirty Nazi?

~ Lots of mud. Lots of mud to throw, believe me.

~ So you’re going to throw it on me?

~ If the shoe fits.

~ And throw me under the bus?

~ Tire marks in the mud. It’s where you live.

~ You come from here, too.

~ Mud doesn’t stick to me.

~ I helped make you.

~ I’m a self-made man. Proof everywhere.

~ Don’t believe your own Press.

~ I don’t believe the Fake News.

~ I know about the Press.

~ I know about the people.

~ They’ll turn on you.

~ No – they want to be me.

~ That’s kinda crazy.

~ If they were in my position – if they had my power – they’d do what I’m doing.

~ That might be true.

~ They’d love to stick it to their betters. They love having a scapegoat.

~ It’s a mob that can turn.

~ Nah! Believe me. They have nowhere else to go.

DE

(image)i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/22/06/429285D700000578-4720054-image-a-74_150070035

When The Army Wanted Kafka As A Soldier

franz-kafka-cocuklugu

Kafka recorded the beginning of the First World War in his diary this way:

August 2, 1914: Germany has declared war on Russia. Went swimming in the afternoon.

That was it.

But, regardless of his lack of enthusiasm, Kafka believed in the duties of the citizen. He tried to join the army to fight. In fact, he tried to join a number of times. He was always refused because the government deemed his civil/government job was too important for him to relinquish.

But, near the end of the war, when Kafka was so sick he had lengthy periods of leave from his job to recuperate, the army came calling.  Kafka had to appear before authorities with medical proof of his illness.

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I ‘fill in’ one of his diary entries describing such a situation.

DE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

07 February 1918

I find I must go to Prague at the end of next week. Such knowledge is proof that one should not open one’s mail. The Military yet again wishes to snare me, and I must once again prove that my hide is not worth the effort.

There were times (very rare) when my father would despair. Not his usual anger at the general incompetence and perfidy of the world around him, but a resignation to the belief that things would never get any better.

“If they want to drag me down,” he would say, “Then I may as well join them. I’ll go out into the street and let myself be swept away by the mob. I’ll become part of their common, grubby life, and let them wipe their boots on me.”

That is much as I feel right now. Let the army take me, dress me in their uniform, point me toward the Americans, and have some cowboy shoot me. Going into battle could be no worse than going into Prague.

 

A Story Of Frolicking Beavers For Canada Day, July First ~ 150 Years

beaver1

First of all, we know that Canada Day is really Dominion Day. But – that said – there is still no better symbol for Canada than the industrious beaver.  But even  hard-working beavers (perhaps, especially hard-working beavers) need their time at play. This is what I saw.

I was walking along the river and heard the strangest noise.

It was one of those noises which, when I found out what It was, sounded exactly as it should. A beaver was chewing at a branch on the bank of the river. First there were small rolling noises, as the branch went through its hands. Then the ‘gnaw gnaw gnaw’. And then the turning noise and the cycles were repeated.

This went on fifteen minutes or so, until the beaver and I both heard noises in the water.

We both saw another beaver approaching. The beaver-at-gnaw quickly went in her direction (though I can only guess which sex was which). They swam toward each other then rubbed faces. The approaching beaver made small bawling noises like a young calf. They rubbed bodies and seemed to sniff each other. They then swam in different directions.

This performance – the swimming away, the languid circling, the approaches – went on for twenty minutes. A couple of times the ‘gnawing’ beaver clambered over the over beaver’s back, but this lasted just a few seconds. The beaver that had first approached rubbed noses once again, then made the bawling sounds one more time.

I never appreciated how large beavers are until one of them came up on the bank. The water was clear enough to see their feet and tail move underwater (I wonder if the portion out of the water might have the 1/10 proportion of an iceberg). The sun was setting and they became difficult to see. However they decided to part anyway. One began to go down river toward the harbour and one headed to the other shore. For me an experience of a lifetime.

DE

(image)teachershelp.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/beaver1.jpg

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