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This ad is almost universally referred to as “The Crazy Ones” – but I prefer to focus on the actions of creative people rather than the pejoratives applied to them.

I almost titled it: No Respect for the Status Quo.

Thank you, Steve.

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Borges: Year’s End

December 31, 2009

in Poetry,Words

Final de Año

Neither the symbolic detail
of a three instead of a two,
nor that rough metaphor
that hails one term dying and another emerging
nor the fulfillment of an astronomical process
muddle and undermine
the high plateau of this night
making us wait
for the twelve irreparable strokes of the bell.
The real cause
is our murky pervasive suspicion
of the enigma of Time,
it is our awe at the miracle
that, though the chances are infinite
and though we are
drops in Heraclitus’ river,
allows something in us to endure,
never moving.

– Jorge Luis Borges (translated by W.S. Merwin)

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“The God Abandons Antony” by C.P. Cavafy:

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

Some backstory from Roger Housden:

“In Plutarch’s version, the night before the city falls, Mark Antony hears an invisible troupe of musicians and singers leaving the city. At that moment he passes out, in the realization that the god Bacchus, his protector, and god of music, wine, and festivity, is deserting him, and that he, Antony, is destined to lose the city. Historically, Antony and Cleopatra, on realizing that all is lost, are said to have committed suicide rather than suffer defeat.”

Leonard Cohen also reinterpreted this poem in his song “Alexandra Leaving”.

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