imperfect reflections


LGBT+ books: Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

When you first fall in love, it’s a dream, it’s perfection, it’s the movies. But, I suppose in the end it’s rarely real, or at least not as perfect as you imagined. Distance and time make you see the holes in it… the imperfections. Reflecting back on your first love can feel like rewatching a movie you loved as a child only to find it was nothing like you remembered. The dialogue seems forced and dumb, the setting seems dated, the plot has giant holes. But you still love it because it meant something to you at the time. That feels a lot like first love to me.

trisscar368  asked:

*careens in with pie and tea* Hiya! So my pile of compatriots and I were discussing s1/12 parallels and treefroggie noted that Dean offers John a machete in 1.20 the same way he offered Ketch a machete in 12.14, and we were wondering if you had other Ketch-as-John parallels scribbled down somewhere (other than Mary)

Ooh, now this is interesting.

*sets out pile of pillows to cushion your landing and gratefully accepts pie and tea*

I’ll start by saying that no one’s a “perfect mirror” of another character this season. Like Mick who was a partial mirror for Cas (a dark mirror at any rate, because he was shown NOT learning the same lessons that Cas did and failing to make the right choices that Cas did), a partial mirror for Sam (Hunter Hogwarts! Nerd BFF’s! but… yeesh that was like Voldemort Hogwarts and Sam wouldn’t have stood for what they actually teach), a partial mirror for Mary… I mean, loads of characters have been reflecting back bits and pieces of each other all season. None of the reflections are “perfect,” and most of them are only being used to draw small slivers of comparisons. Like, single plot point references.

Like Dean’s conversation with Mick in 12.16 where he confronts Mick outside the diner and gives a version of the speech he gave Cas in 4.22 about doing the right thing… unlike Cas, Mick didn’t really change after that confrontation. It was only after Sam talked him down from shooting Eileen in 12.17 that he relented even a little bit. Not even having seen Claire cured in 12.16 had made him question The Code… Mick never showed the doubts that were inherent in Cas’s character from very early on (4.07, really). We were being shown these slivers of comparison between them not to say “these things are similar on the surface” but “pay attention to how truly different these things are under the surface.”

So with that in mind, let’s talk about Ketch.

First of all, speaking of 4.07, I’ve been largely thinking of Ketch as a mirror of s4 Uriel. But also as a parallel to the Archangels (Michael in particular). So that right there should at least tangentially connect him to John…

And after recent discussion about about how angels’ vessels may “influence” them, well, Michael did occupy John’s vessel for a hot second back in 1978, and then Adam’s vessel (who was John’s son too… yet raised without really knowing anything about his father or his real life), I’m inclined to consider the sort of mindset that John had toward…. everything. Like Michael, he dealt in “black and white.” Absolutes. And he didn’t really live long enough to learn all the shades of grey that Sam and Dean have had to in the years since his death.

I mean, GORDON WALKER was introduced as a mirror character for John.

That should tell you something.

Because I’ve also compared Ketch to Gordon…

And back toward the beginning of the season the wilder spec was postulating that Ketch might not even be human. That he might be a literal monster himself, because of the mysterious way his character was introduced (focusing around his faceless monstrosity…)

Not to mention that the “ghost of John Winchester” has been hovering heavily all over s12, in everything from Mary’s reliance on his journal to acquaint herself with this modern world, to her journey back through her own past (revisiting the diner where they’d had their first date, etc.). We’ve been asked to notice how similar her “romanticization” of John’s memory is to the stories about Mary that John had always told to Sam and Dean… that were largely based on “alternative facts.”

As well as Mary’s relationship with Ketch… which is also based on a lack of understanding of who he really is. She doesn’t know the half of what WE’VE seen him do, but only sees this surface-level “hunter persona” that he’s allowed her to see.

She doesn’t know he killed Magda (but would Mary have even been on Sam and Dean’s side in letting Magda go? Or would Mary have believed her to be a monster too?). She doesn’t know he went back and murdered that entire army squadron at the prison. She doesn’t get that he didn’t care one whit whether Cas or Sam or Dean or ALL OF THEM had died in the mission to fetch the Colt.

I mean… she thinks what she’s doing with the MoL is hunting, because “killing the monsters” is what she always believed to be the goal of the hunt. Just like Dean did for a while in the early days. And even what we assume was John’s beliefs on the subject, because Dean had to learn that mindset somewhere, you know?

But Dean has UNLEARNED that mindset. So has Sam (though to be fair it was Sam who prodded Dean into unlearning it, and himself was the reason Dean had been so willing to unlearn it… he couldn’t let himself think that Sam was a monster that he might have to kill, you know?).

I think in some ways, Ketch’s inflexibility on his moral code is supposed to recall John Winchester, but like every other narrative mirror this season, it’s only showing us a small part of the big picture, you know? Because even John came around in the end, to a degree. He was far from perfect, but he wasn’t a monster in the same way Ketch is.

I think that’s why speculation this season has been nearly pointless, because the whole season is mirroring the past  through a bunch of cracked and broken mirrors, and looking directly into any of them and trying to assemble a definitive image from them or a direct parallel to the past is just not possible. But we are being given little glimpses of insight based on those imperfect reflections, so the parallels are still definitely interesting. I’m just not sure it’s possible to understand the entire picture until the whole story plays out.

Heeeey, Rashomon Effect. :P

The Way You Make Me Feel

hopefulstudent: Hongbin-self confidence

Author: Admin A

Character(s): Hongbin (VIXX)/Reader

Word Count: 1,464

Summary: Imperfect, that’s how you saw yourself. But not how he sees you.

You stood in front of the full length mirror of your bedroom in nothing but your underwear and bra, gazing at your reflection. You tilted your head to the side before poking your stomach, watching it jiggle a bit. Turning so you could see your side, you grazed your fingertips over the stretch marks that sat just above your hips from a growth spurt when you were younger. A frown marred your lips as you squared up with the mirror again, slapping your thighs gently. They too, jiggled from the impact.



               Things that were not seen a beautiful.

               You could feel your self-confidence draining from you like someone tipping over a cup of water. A weight settled on your shoulders that only grew heavier the longer you stared at the imperfect reflection in front of you, so unlike the pictures around you every day.

Keep reading

Im Jaebum on his "self" (Identify Special Interview)
  • Q: What type of person do you think you are?
  • A: My self... I've said something like this before on another program. I actually still don't know myself that well... I ponder about what type of person I am and what type of disposition I have, but I'm still not sure. For example, there's a new part of my personality that I've discovered recently. You see, I wasn't the type to think that you have to put 100% in everything you do. I didn't see a need for perfection. Since imperfection is a human charm, there's no reason to make everything perfect. But I didn't know that I wasn't like that... It seems that I've shifted to become a perfectionist. Recently people have been saying stuff like "Jaebum-ie is a perfectionist" and it's the first time I heard such things. I've never heard such words like that in my entire life! So I said "Perfectionist? I don't think things have to be perfect!" But after they started listing examples of my actions, I didn't think they were wrong. And I realized that I have sides of me that seem to be so. Seeing as I'm still discovering parts of my "self" that I didn't know about, I don't think I can correctly judge what type of person I am.
Sanctum Sanctorum

There were certain matters that regarded sorcerer attention. As of late, there had been noticeable flummoxes in energy - easily sensed by even paladin sorcerers - were on the rise. It was relatively easy to pinpoint and, thus, one master of the mystic arts, not yet Sorcerer Supreme but destined to become with patience and practice, sent a letter.

This peculiar letter, written on clearly expensive parchment, was not sent by the common post. Instead, it merely arrived before the intended recipient with a brief fizzle of plasma.

Inside read the following:

Dr. Stephen Strange cordially invites Ms. Fenris and whomever she chooses to accompany her to the following address:

177A Bleecker Street

Greenwich Village, New York, 10012

Enclosed is a one-way, first class ticket for your use. Reimbursement is not required. 


Dr. Stephen Strange

P.S. Flick the paper twice for duplicates, if needed.

Despite the formalities of the script, the handwriting reflected the imperfect form of a child still learning their letters. The words were shakingly scrawled and nearly indiscernible as if they had never held a pen before in their life. Alas, the mystery of the chicken-scratch handwriting was not ready to be solved just yet.

The Tarot of Amber

Roger Zelazny, who made a study of Jungian archetypes, became intrigued by the Tarot.  His most popular work, The Chronicles of Amber, which reworked Norse, Celtic and classical materials, drew on the Tarot for the development of characters, themes and structure.

Readers of The Chronicles of Amber are made aware early on in the first book of the five-book series that Amber is a special focal point of reality.  It is an ideal world, in the sense that over the ages very little there changes.  Conflicts and events occurring in Amber, however, are always mirrored in other worlds, even on our own Earth.  Amber is, therefore, deemed “real” by its inhabitants, while other places are regarded as imperfect reflections or “shadows.”

Prominent people and places in Amber consequently take on a more than ordinary power and significance.  The most important of these are represented on the trump cards of a unique tarot deck created by Amber’s most gifted artist and mystic, Dworkin Barimen.  These trumps operate on a higher level, permitting travel and communication across and through the many realities of the multiverse, what the royal family of Amber calls Shadow.

The Trumps:

  1. The Magician — Random, youngest son of Oberon, trickster and gambler;
  2. The High Priestess — Flora, youngest daughter of Oberon, vessel of secrets;
  3. The Empress — Queen Faiella (deceased), beloved bride of Oberon;
  4. The Emperor — Eric, commander of Amber’s troops;
  5. The Hierophant — Bleys, charismatic leader of fanatical holy warriors;
  6. The Lovers (Love) — Mirelle, the princess who died for love;
  7. The Chariot — Julian, master of the Forest of Arden and the fearsome steed Morgenstern;
  8. Strength — Gérard, strongest, bravest, and most compassionate;
  9. The Hermit — Llewella, most quiet and solitary of Oberon’s children;
  10. The Wheel of Fortune — The Great Arch, entrance to Amber;
  11. Justice — Caine, merciless master of covert operations;
  12. The Hanged Man — Benedict, most willing to make sacrifices for Amber;
  13. Death — Corwin, the prince in black whose power lies in the ghost-city;
  14. Temperance — Fiona, the family’s clever moderating influence;
  15. The Devil — Dworkin, the prisoner of Oberon who can destroy the worlds;
  16. The Tower — Brand, the dangerously ambitious prince confined in a tower;
  17. The Star — The Grove of the Unicorn, peaceful glade in Amber;
  18. The Moon — Deirdre, who confronts the fears that walk by moonlight;
  19. The Sun — Oberon, Amber’s king and the true master of her power;
  20. Judgment — Faiella-bionin, the stairway down to the city in the sea;
  21. The World — The library in the palace of Amber;
  22. The Fool — Merlin, the most inexperienced prince of Amber

Posts on the Tarot of Amber:

The Tarot of Amber — Trumps 1 - 4

The Tarot of Amber — Trumps 5 - 8

The Tarot of Amber — Trumps 9 - 13

The Tarot of Amber — Trumps 14 - 17

The Tarot of Amber — Trumps 18 - 22

Posts on Tarot and the structure of Nine Princes in Amber:

Tarot & Nine Princes in Amber: The Journey of the Fool (Part 1)

Tarot & Nine Princes in Amber: The Journey of the Fool (Part 2)

Tarot & Nine Princes in Amber: The Journey of the Fool (Part 3)


For all its imperfections (sometimes its circus-like sessions, the drama, the anger), the Philippine Senate, the upper chamber of the Congress of the Philippines, has always been an institution that safeguarded freedom. I know it is hard to look at it that way, but if one views it from the impartial lens of history, one sees a trend.

Every time the Senate is padlocked, or abolished, the Legislature of the country would be ridden with corruption (easily pressured by the Executive branch), oligarchy, herd mentality, and would be resistant to reform. That’s not to say that the current congress doesn’t have these problems, or that unicameralism (a one chamber legislature, as opposed to bicameralism of two chambers) is bad. For a type of Legislature may work best on a certain country or nation which has its own cultural and historical context, but another type may not.

The Philippines has tried a unicameral legislature (that is, without a senate) several times: under the un-amended 1935 Constitution (from 1935 – 1941), under the 1943 Constitution of a Philippines under Japanese Occupation (from 1943-1945), and under the 1973 Constitution of the Marcos regime (from 1973 to 1986), and in those three instances, the two latter set ups had the people’s voice repressed and/or silenced.

So what gives? The Senate, as compared to the House, is elected nationally, unlike in the House wherein representatives are elected by the regions they represent (thru legislative districts). As such, the Senate has a national view of things. Seeing however its shortcomings by missing the forest for the trees, the House of Representatives balances it. The Senate’s edge is its national outlook, hence, it is the testing ground for those who aspire for the highest government office in the land–the Presidency. The Senate is best seen in the spectrum of the past. Let’s look at it from the very colorful political life we had after World War II. 

The post-war Senate was legendary, in that, as intended by the framers of the 1935 constitution, it became the foremost venue for debate on national policy. In fact, the Senate would attract a large following (media and political analysts) in its sessions. And the senators then were very good with the arguments. These senators were not totally incorruptible, but reading the news articles of that time would give one the sense that these senators had the experience, the bravado, and the training to engage an impressive intelligent public discourse. The debates in the Senate and the exposé made by senators on the senate floor created waves in the media. And the people reacted and interacted.

The Senate has therefore been naturally on the forefront of opposition when the Chief Executive committed excesses. Take for example the bombing of Plaza Miranda on August 21, 1971, where in the Liberal Party’s miting de avance, several people were injured, including some senators. President Marcos immediately suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus nationwide. The Senate opposed the move saying it was uncalled for since the bombing was not national in scope. Public opinion at the time said it was President Marcos who planned the bombing. It was Senator Eva Estrada Kalaw who urged the public to wait a little longer for the next presidential election lest the violent demonstrations that resulted be used as an excuse for martial law. In the 1971 midterm elections, the opposition won the majority seats in the Senate, a fitting reflection of public opinion that had swung against Marcos.

Seeing that the only recourse for extension of presidential term was for the Senate (a thorn in Marcos’ side) to be derailed or abolished, President Marcos planned to declare martial law, in the guise of preserving peace and order, on September 21, 1972, the date of the supposed adjournment of both Senate and House of Representatives. It was Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in his famous privilege speech on the Senate Floor days before the 21st that revealed a secret plan of the administration, called “Oplan Sagittarius,” to use the military to take control of the country and impose martial rule. Marcos denied the allegations, not even telling his close associates the plan.

On the last minute, Congress scheduled a special session on September 21, moving the adjournment to September 23, 1972. And thus it was only on the midnight of September 23 that martial law was implemented, beginning with the arrests of key senators: Senators Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., Jose “Pepe” Diokno, Ramon Mitra, and Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo. Senator Salvador “Doy” Laurel was one of those on the list of arrest but was out of the country when it happened.

As the imprisoned senators, with approximately 8,000 individuals (composed of journalists and opposition leaders) clamored for the unconstitutionality of Marcos’ martial law declaration, initially Marcos promised never to supersede the 1935 constitution. But this was only lip service. Before the opening of congress on January 22, 1973 as set by the 1935 constitution, Marcos engineered the process of the creation of a new constitution, the 1973 constitution, which was quickly (minadali) ratified before the said date. The new constitution gave him almost absolute dictatorial powers, and it abolished Congress. Thus, when the legislators arrived on January 22, at the Legislative Building, the Senate and House Session Halls were found padlocked.

Martial law ended that era of that verve of political life for the country. Perhaps there is truth in the thought that the Senate today is but a specter or a shadow of the Pre-Martial Law Senate. But the institution, no matter how imperfect, is still a reflection of public opinion, and of our aspiration as an independent people of democracy.

Thus, on its 99th year since it was established via Jones Law in 1916, let us give a virtual/digital toast to our Senate, wishing that they would live up to the trust we have given them.

Photos above:

(1) Senators Doy Laurel, Eva Estrada Kalaw, Ramon Mitra, Gerry Roxas, and Jovito Salonga in 1973, outside the padlocked Senate Session Hall. (Photo from the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, PCDSPO)

(2) The pre-war interior of the Senate Session Hall in the Legislative Building (now the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines). The room was not used during the Martial Law Period. In 1987 the reestablished Senate opened again its session here. The Senate eventually moved to the GSIS Building in Pasay in 1997. (Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the Philippines)


His Name Was John Chapman and he did it for the Booze.

In September of 1797, twenty-three year old John Chapman decided to leave his family’s farm in Massachusetts and go west to seek his fortune on the frontier. Settlers were pouring into western Pennsylvania in search of cheap land, and Chapman thought that he could make money by starting an apple tree nursery there and selling seedling trees to other settlers as they arrived.

Chapman knew that almost every farmer who settled in the west would plant a large orchard in order to produce alcoholic apple cider. At that time, most Americans did not eat many apples, but they liked to drink cider with every meal. Even small children drank hard cider with breakfast, dinner, and supper, because it was thought to be the healthiest beverage available. Unlike creek water and unpasteurized milk, which often harbored deadly germs, cider drunk in moderation seldom made anyone sick. alcohol-free “sweet” cider was more wholesome than hard cider, but without refrigeration it fermented after a few days in the barrel.

Chapman calculated that he could sell thousands of young apple trees on the frontier, where every settler would want to plant at least fifty fruit trees to provide his family with a year’s supply of cider. Most settlers would plant even more trees – perhaps two hundred – to produce extra cider for sale. Chapman knew that settlers could start their orchards from seed, but reasoned that most would prefer the faster and easier method of planting young trees. He hoped that he could sell thousands of two-year old seedlings for six cents each in western Pennsylvania.

To get started, Chapman visited a Massachusetts cider mill during the fall apple harvest. He collected all of the apple seeds that he wanted, free of charge by picking through the waste pulp of the mill.

With a big sack of apple seeds among the provisions in his backpack, Chapman begun hiking west in late October of 1797. The weather was mild during the first weeks of his hike, but in mid-November, after he had passed the last settlements of the Susquehanna River Valley, Chapman encountered a blizzard. He was hiking along a mountain ridge in central Pennsylvania, days away from the nearest cabins, when the storm hit.

Chapman built a fire and lean-to shelter, and then he relaxed on a bed of boughs while the wind howled around him for days. When the weather cleared, Chapman discovered that it was impossible for him to resume his journey because of massive snowdrifts that buried the trail more than a yard deep in most places.

Another traveler might have been alarmed by this life-threatening difficulty, but dammit all, Chapman was in it for the booze! He returned to his fire, stretched out on his bed of boughs, and gazed thoughtfully at the snow-covered beech trees that towered around his campsite. Eventually he devised a plan. He got up and used his knife to cut the beech strips, bent the branches into the shape of snowshoes, and fastened them with strips of cloth from his jacket.

After a full day of tinkering, he had made a serviceable pair of snowshoes. With these laced to his feet, he walked over the drifts for a week until he reached his destination – the future site of Warren, Pennsylvania, where a land company had opened an office with a cabin, The handful of settlers were so impressed by Chapman’s improvised snowshoes that the story of how he survived the blizzard became a permanent part of local folklore.

That winter Chapman chose a site for his tree nursery at the place where the Big Brokenstraw Creek joins the Allegheny River, about six miles from Warren. With an axe as his only tool, he killed the big trees on three acres of land by “girdling” each tree, slicing off the bark in a circle clear around each trunk. He then built a rough fence of logs and brush to keep deer out of his clearing. In the spring he planted apple seeds on the fenced land.

Chapman knew that the trees that grew from his seed would yield diverse varieties of bitter, inedible crabapples, but that was fine with him. He was not interested in raising sweet , edible apples, because such trees cannot normally be grown from seeds; they have to be propagated artificially by grafting. Chapman disliked grafting because he considered it unnatural, and he knew that his customers would be perfectly satisfied with bitter crabapples because they made good cider.

That summer Chapman’s seedling trees flourished, but few new settlers moved into the area around Warren. Chapman decided that he had chosen the wrong place to plant his nursery, since there were not enough customers.

To be sure of locating in an area that would attract plenty of customers for his seedlings, Chapman decided that he would need to plant nurseries at many places in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. He left Warren and never returned.

Chapman spent the ensuing years planting tree nurseries at various locations in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Every fall he would steal bushels of apple seeds from eastern cider mills. He would carry these seeds to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he would load them into a dugout canoe. He would then paddle up the Allegheny River or down the Ohio River until he located a promising site for a future town, where he would go ashore and spend a few weeks preparing two or three acres of ground for a nursery.

Chapman probably did most of his work of site selection, tree girdling, and fence-building in the fall and winter months. By spring he would have multiple clearings ready for planting, and he could travel swiftly by canoe from one clearing to another, to get all of his seeds into the ground at the right time of the year.

Chapman’s younger brother, Lawrence, became interested in his enterprise and for a while accompanied Chapman on his nursery-planting expeditions into the wilderness. Eventually Lawrence grew tired of camping in the forest, and he abandoned the project. But John Chapman remained so enthusiastically committed to tree planting that people began to call him “Johnny Appleseed,” a nickname that he liked.

Chapman found that he enjoyed living alone in the woods. He was an amiable man who did a lot of talking whenever he got the chance, but he did not mind solitude. He was fond of books, and often carried one tucked into his belt. When he was not doing strenuous work of clearing land for nurseries, he enjoyed loafing beside his fire, observing nature or reading.

By 1802 Chapman had planted nurseries at many scattered locations along the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries, and he was earning a steady income from the sale of seedling trees to new settlers. He had become good at guessing where the next settlements were likely to appear, and his most profitable nurseries usually stood right beside a growing town. Sometimes he would obtain legal title to the land on which he planted a nursery, but usually he would not bother to do that. He did not remain long enough at any of his nurseries but hired local settlers to serve as his agents, tending to profitable seedlings and selling them on commission.

Despite Chapman’s increasing prosperity, he continued to lead an itinerant life, spending months every year traveling up wilderness tributaries of the Ohio River in dugout canoes. His growing attachment to his primitive way of life left him with little use for the hoard of cash that he was accumulating.

Since outlaw gangs occasionally preyed on river traffic, Chapman usually carried no money, keeping his cash hidden at various locations in the woods. He carried nothing anybody might be tempted to steal – no gun, no traps, no coat, no shoes – nothing of valued except for his books and his apple seeds, which no one else wanted.

Chapman’s lack of tangible possessions not only kept him safe from outlaws but also smoothed his relations with the Natives whose villages he visited on his travels. Most Natives believed that a true friend would gladly share all of his possessions, and this belief caused endless trouble between Native Americans and settlers. To the settlers, the natives were “indian givers” and thieves; to the Natives, the settlers were treacherously false friends. But Chapman got along very well with the Natives.

No details of his life among the Natives have been recorded. If he had a Native Wife, he did not tell any of the settlers. All that is known for certain about Chapman’s interactions with the Natives is that he spoke Algonquian dialects fluently and the he was able to travel freely from one Native Village to another in Ohio during the War of 1812, whereas any other settler would have been killed.

Chapman’s habit of traveling with few possessions may have been a sensible and practical solution to the challenges of frontier life, but it also had a philosophical basis. He was profoundly influenced by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish scientist who became a Christian mystic. Chapman agreed with Swedenborg, and also with the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, that the material world is an imperfect reflection of an ideal spiritual world, and that attachment to material things leads to unhappiness.

Chapman tried to avoid becoming attached to any luxury. When he visited a frontier cabin and was invited to sleep in a bed, he would politely decline and instead lay down to sleep on the floor by the fire. He refused to harm any animal, and he lived on a vegetarian diet that included wild nuts, roots, and herbs. He told one settler that, when he had been trapped by ice on an island in the Ohio River for several months, he and survived on a diet of nothing but butternuts. He avoided coffee and tobacco, but was fond of cider and applejack, the hard liquor made by allowing cider to partially freeze and then skimming off the ice.

Chapman loved to talk about Swedenborg’s intellectual and theological notions, such as his doctrine that the Bible should not be taken literally, instead it should be read as a metaphoric guide to Platonic philosophy. When Chapman discoursed on such topics, people on the Ohio frontier listened politely, but they seldom made much effort to understand him entirely. According to folklore, Chapman was extremely religious, but his ideas about heaven and hell were unconventional, and he got into many baffling, complicated debates with fundamental preachers.

Despite his peculiarities, Chapman was a well-respected man on the frontier. Everybody knew that was a successful businessman with a good education. Although he habitually went barefoot and dressed the threadbare clothing and odd-looking homemade hats, he always looked clean and tidy, with his long hair neatly parted in the middle.

Chapman was widely admired for his generosity. His agents had standing orders to sell seedlings on credit to anyone who could not pay cash, and Chapman never made the slightest effort to collect a debt, so payment was effectively voluntary. Chapman also made gifts of cash to needy people; he once handed fifty dollars to one astonished widow. To spare lame horses from slaughter, he bought lame horses and arranged for them to be put out to pasture.

Chapman became a hero to many frontier settlers during the War of 1812, when he gave the settlers advance warnings of Native Raiding Parties. During the War of 1812, when frontier settlers were tortured by Great Britain, Johnny Appleseed continued his wanderings and he was never bothered by anyone. On many occasions the impunity with which he ranged the country enabled him to give both sides early warning and ample time to flee to safety.

When the war ended in defeat for the Ohio Natives and the withdrawal of their British Allies into Canada settlers poured into Ohio faster than ever before, and Chapman became more prosperous than ever. He became a real estate developer, buying tracts of land for sale to settlers.

Chapman’s nurseries and real-estate developments allowed him to send impressive sums of money to the New Church in Philadelphia, which sought to spread the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg in America. Chapman’s profits also supported the family of his sister, Persis; Chapman employed his sister’s ne’re do-well husband, William Broom.

His sister’s descendants inherited Chapman’s estate when he died of pneumonia in 1845, age seventy, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His heirs were not able to track down all of his scattered real-estate holdings and they recovered none of his cash savings, which presumably remained hidden in rocky clefts and hollow trees. They nevertheless collected nearly six hundred dollars worth of property, a considerable sum at that time.

In 1871, more than two decades after his death, Chapman became a legendary figure to Americans when Harpers New Monthly Magazine published an article about him by W.D. Haley. The article depicted Chapman as in impractical religious mystic; “he trod the earth with bare and bleeding feet, intent only upon making the wilderness fruitful.” Fanciful engravings that illustrated the article showed Chapman dressed in an old coffee sack and carrying a staff, an outfit that made him look like a saintly hermit in a Victorian Bible illustration. The article incorrectly portrayed Chapman as a poor man who owned only one small tract of land.

Haley avoided mentioning that Chapman’s apples were useful mainly for manufacturing an alcoholic beverage. Although one line in the article stated than Chapman raised trees as a business, overall the tone of the article gave readers the false impression that Chapman had planted the apple trees mainly for charitable reasons. Later writers exaggerated the distortions in Haley’s article to create a purely fictional image of Chapman as a pious vagrant who randomly scattered seeds to provide free apples for future generations of Americans.

A more realistic view of Chapman was revealed by the research of Robert Price, who’s 1954 book Johnny Appleseed: Man and Myth is still considered the authoritative biography of John Chapman.


  • Haley, W.D. Johnny Appleseed, Pioneer Hero Harpers New Monthly Magazine, November 1871

  • Price, Robert. Johnny Appleseed: Man and Myth Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1954

  • Bromer, Rick. Old News Periodical Magazine April – May 2009


  1. One of John Chapman’s Land Deeds.
  2. Two Popular yet inaccurate copper-plate engravings.
  3. John Chapman’s “Birth Certificate” written record, actually.
  4. Portrait of John Chapman
  5. Ohio River Monument, NOT his headstone
In the end, I want to look back and say that I touched the lives of many people, who will change the way they view themselves. I don’t want to change the world, because that is impractical; but I do want to impact enough lives that I can change myself.

my messed up mind at 4 am.


The Danger of an Amateur Writer


I can’t even imagine where the anon(s) accusing me of [misogyny among other things] are getting these ideas. But I welcome evidence in ‘fic format or old journal entries or whatever else they have the time to dig up. At least if you’re going to claim I’m a [whatever], draw evidence from more than one source, especially if your source is fanfiction.

Well, I suppose this is as good a time to broach this topic as any other.

Because if we’re really going to go about collecting “evidence,” I imagine a great many people would think that there are some tendencies among your fics that would qualify. Technically, I wouldn’t disagree that there are probably some patterns in the way you treat female characters that are subtly sexist (though I have not gone looking, haven’t read your fic involving rape, and I can’t tell you right at this moment what that might be).

Here’s the thing though: When you’re talking about amateur fiction, sexist content doesn’t necessarily equate to sexist belief, and even less often does it equate to sexist intent.

tl;dr version: Under this cut I will argue that imperfect writing, more than reflecting the individual, often better reflects the social consensus about what stories are about, and that as a result, it’s an unfair conclusion to attribute problematic writing directly to the writer’s problematic worldview. I’ll also argue that it’s a struggle to go against these societal reflections and write something that people want to read.

Keep reading


RIP Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 - June 6, 1968)

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Mr. President:

On behalf of Mrs. Kennedy, her children, the parents and sisters of Robert Kennedy, I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the world.

We loved him as a brother, and as a father, and as a son. From his parents, and from his older brothers and sisters – Joe and Kathleen and Jack – he received an inspiration which he passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.

Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely.

A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some words about his own father which expresses [sic] the way we in his family felt about him. He said of what his father meant to him, and I quote: “What it really all adds up to is love – not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it.” And he continued, “Beneath it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and needed help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off.”

That is what Robert Kennedy was given. What he leaves to us is what he said, what he did, and what he stood for. A speech he made to the young people of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation in 1966 sums it up the best, and I would like to read it now:

“There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to rely on youth – not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress.

It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro]claimed that "all men are created equal.”

These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. *It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.* Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.

*The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.* Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.“

That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”

The Future in Motion

The colossal leak of photos from the Episode VIII set yesterday has added further credence to the theory that the scene in the rain from Rey’s vision shows the future rather than the past. Thanks to some very keen observation by @bastila-bae, we can discern a likely link between this landscape in Rey’s vision:

And this set for Episode VIII:

The strange silhouette in the background is actually the scorched tree on the island. The bodies covering the sodden ground are rocks. In other words, the vision shows Kylo and the knights of Ren on Luke’s island after the events of The Force Awakens (they can’t have been there before because the location of the island is lost and Kylo doesn’t know where Luke is).

However, there is an important point to make before going any further - the vision is not meant to be a perfect representation of reality. This is demonstrated to us repeatedly. While Rey sees this:

What actually happened is this:

And while Rey foresees this:

She gets this:

The colours and contours of the Bespin corridor change, bathed in an eerie blue for Rey and a metallic bronze for Luke. The difference between the vision of Kylo and the reality of Kylo is even more striking - he loses the mask, and he approaches with his weapon lowered instead of raised. At every turn, then, we are being informed that the vision is not a perfect representation of reality - it is a distorted mirror of the past and an imperfect reflection of the future. If the vision tells us anything, it tells us that the future can be altered.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I bring it up because the correlation between the landscape in the vision and the landscape in the set isn’t perfect. There are no stairs in the vision. The ground appears to be flat rather than sloping. The match between the mysterious shape and the tree isn’t perfect. The perspective looks wrong. And while the link between the vision and Ahch-To may well be a false one, I don’t think these discrepancies are enough to discredit it and I certainly don’t think the shape in the background of the vision is insignificant. It is visible for the briefest moment, illuminated by a flare of lightning before vanishing again. They could have chosen to have no lightning, or to have the flash illuminate more rocks and wet ground. Instead, they chose to show a very specific and very unusual shape. And in a film like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this kind of thing isn’t accidental.

There are also other reasons to believe the vision is of the future, the most significant being this shot from the Episode VIII production tease (which shows stormy weather conditions, recalling the heavy rain in the vision):

And this shot from a trailer (which shows Kylo holding what looks like Luke’s green lightsaber):

To sum up, while I was doubtful before I’d say I’m now around 80% sure that the scene in the rain was a vision of the future rather than the past. And that is fascinating as much for the questions it raises, as anything else:

1. Will Rey use the vision to warn Luke, allowing them to escape before the knights arrive?

2. Will Kylo kill someone who is trying to kill Rey? If so, who is the attacker and why are they trying to kill her?

3. In the vision, has Kylo killed Luke? Is that how he got hold of his lightsaber?

4. What the hell is up with that tree?

15 Things You Have to Forget to Get Ahead:

1. The complicated ways of living.
Focus on the activities and people that make you happy, and filter out the avoidable opposites. Truth be told, we often make our lives complicated when it’s really quite simple: Find what it is that makes you happy and spend more time doing it. Find who it is that makes you smile and spend more time with them.

Living your dream is really just a matter of proper lifestyle alignment. It’s about being true to yourself, and realizing that where you are at any given moment is exactly where you want to be. Thus, happiness and success in life is simply the gratifying combination of liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking who you do it with.

2. Negativity and those who create it.
When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are. Don’t let the silly little dramas of each day get you down either. Stay positive when negativity surrounds you. Keep calm and carry on. It takes one positive thought to overpower an entire array of negative thoughts. People who are able to find the one positive point in negative situations are the ones who never give up.

3. Insensitive thoughts.
Always be kinder than necessary. What goes around comes around. No one has ever made themselves strong by showing how small someone else is. Whatever can be done, can be done more effectively when you add kindness. Whatever words are spoken, will always be more compelling when expressed with kindness.

The kind deeds you exert in just one moment can have a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. Your days will be brighter and your years fuller when you add kindness to your purpose. Choose to be kind every day, and you’re truly choosing to live in a better world.

4. The belief that you’re too flawed.
Accept your humanness. You can stop pretending. It feels good to own up to stuff… to admit that you’re human – a work in progress – a beautiful mess. Wanting to be someone or something else is a waste of your beauty. You’re fine. If you feel like you aren’t, you’re blowing things out of proportion. Having a little anxiety is fine. Being a little fearful is fine. Your secrets are fine. You’re a good person. You’re intelligent. You’re fine just the way you are.

5. Your desire to win everyone’s approval.
Your ideas and choices don’t have to be on everyone’s “approved” list. Regardless of the opinions of others, at the end of the day the only reflection staring back at you in the mirror is your own. Make sure you’re proud of who that person is. Approach others with the belief that you’re a good person, whether they respond positively or not. It’s normal to want people to like you, but it becomes a self-imposed burden when too much of your behavior is explicitly designed to constantly reassure you of their approval.

6. The big expectations clouding your mind.
Whatever you’re waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, an inner awareness of abundance – it will surely come to you, but only when you’re ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. So be as grateful as possible, for small things, not just for big things – for the simple act of breathing, the time together, the conversations, etc. Every moment counts. Every second matters. Whatever is given is a gift. Make the most of it.

7. What you don’t have, and may never have
Focus on the resources you do have access to. It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it. Too many of us are hung up on what we don’t have, can’t have, or won’t ever have. We spend too much energy being down, when we could use that same energy – if not less of it – doing, or at least trying to do, some of the things we really want to do. So focus on the opportunities you DO have and exploit the resources you DO have access to.

8. All that stuff for sale you don’t need.
Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Don’t be one of them. Stop buying stuff on impulse! Avoid the mall! The mall is not a source of entertainment. It’s a source of personal debt. There’s no reason to tease yourself by staring at a bunch of brand new junk you don’t need. And as you know, the novelty of a new purchase wears thin long before the credit card bill arrives.

So as I’ve said before, live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to entertain yourself or impress others. Do not fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. (Read The Total Money Makeover.)

9. Old, comfortable routines.
Remember, the way you’ve always done it isn’t the only way. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re 80 is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, or not having bought enough $9 lattes in your 30s, or not having frequented the same chain restaurants for your entire 40s, etc. But the regret of missing out on opportunities is a real, toxic feeling. You’ve figured out drinking and going out. You’ve had enough lattes. You know what the hamburger at Applebee’s tastes like. It’s time to figure something else out. Every corner you turn or street you walk down has a new experience waiting for you. You just have to see the opportunity and be adventurous enough to run with it.

10. Senseless busy work.
Incessant busyness is often a sign of ineffectiveness and laziness. Because it’s easy to be busy – just partake in a bunch of random activities that drains all your time. Doing so justifies never having enough time to clean, cook for yourself, go out with friends, meet new people, etc. Right? Wrong. Don’t just get things done; get the right things done. Results are always more important than the time it takes to achieve them.

11. Illusions of safety.
You have to take risks. You will only realize the full potential of your life when you allow the unexpected to happen. Living itself is risky business. Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To truly live is to know you’re getting up and taking that risk. To not get out of bed, clutching to illusions of safety, is to die slowly without ever having truly lived. Be a little risky and realize the full potential of your life.

12. Fears of defeat.
A fear of being defeated is what warrants your defeat. A fear of not being good enough is what guarantees that you never will be. If you never pick up that keyboard, or pencil, or paintbrush, or whatever instrument you use to craft your work, because you’re afraid that someone else might do it better than you, your prediction will automatically come true.

Remember, defeat is not the worst of failures. Not having tried at all is as bad as it gets. And as far as failure itself is concerned, you’re not obligated to succeed or fail. You’re obligated to keep trying – to do the best you can do every day. That’s all. And you’re always good enough to do that.

13. The dream that everything should be easy.
The ones who fall and get up are so much stronger than the ones who never fell. Often it’s the deepest pain that empowers human beings to rise and grow into their highest selves. The ones who win the race in the long run are usually not the quickest or slickest, but the ones who have endured the most.

14. The way you expected things to be.
Life is about laughing and learning through good times and bad. It’s about growing through whatever comes your way and looking back with a smile. You’re stronger because of the hard times, wiser because of your mistakes, and happier because you have known sadness. The same is true for everyone else.

So stay strong. Even when it feels like everything is falling apart, you can either let it define you, destroy you, or let it strengthen you. Things change for the better. Just believe and roll with it. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. When you finally let go of the past and what did or didn’t happen, something better comes along. Oftentimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.

15. The excuses for why you haven’t started.
The feeling you get from taking the first step is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around thinking about it. So get up and get moving. Take the first step this year – just one small step forward. The greatest miracle of your success will not be that you finished, it will be that you had the courage to begin.

The future starts TODAY, not tomorrow.

And every moment I lose without you, fighting interference between my mind and the tip of my tongue, I am lost. Tripping over my words, over insanity, racking my every thought, drowning this conviction behind an apathetic mask. A numberless cigarette lit twixt my fingers, burning like the fire that beauty held in your eyes, piercing me like a conscience, shattering the glass of memory reflecting my imperfections, smoldering bridges sinking behind me in hopes for a second chance. So embrace me, dreams, for you are mine; awake to a whirlwind staying swift through my fingers, my dream of you was all I had. So give me a heart where I can’t feel, for all I need in my life is that which eludes me, that which I let get away, remaining a haunting thought of what could have been. Can you feel my beating heart? Buried beneath the backyard- the place we used to live, where we stood on our own. We were rooted in this home. Where we exhaled our last breath and watched the summer fade to blackness. We held our hands tight and spoke softly of the distance, as to which our hearts were to lie. And the night kissed us softly on the cheek and we each, the trees bowed before our knees, going back to the pond, growing fond of the memories we would never let die. I will let you go if you want me to.
—  Her Tongue Was Tattooed On the Back of Her Teeth, Old Gray