… Borges is arguably the great bridge between modernism and post-modernism in world literature. He is modernist in that his fiction shows a first-rate human mind stripped of all foundations in religious or ideological certainty — a mind turned thus wholly in on itself. His stories are inbent and hermetic, with the oblique terror of a game whose rules are unknown and its stakes everything.
And the mind of those stories is nearly always a mind that lives in and through books. This is because Borges the writer is, fundamentally, a reader. The dense, obscure allusiveness of his fiction is not a tic, or even really a style; and it is no accident that his best stories are often fake essays, or reviews of fictitious books, or have texts at their plots’ centers, or have as protagonists Homer or Dante or Averroes. Whether for seminal artistic reasons or neurotic personal ones or both, Borges collapses reader and writer into a new kind of aesthetic agent, one who makes stories out of stories, one for whom reading is essentially — consciously — a creative act. This is not, however, because Borges is a metafictionist or a cleverly disguised critic. It is because he knows that there’s finally no difference — that murderer and victim, detective and fugitive, performer and audience are the same. Obviously, this has postmodern implications (hence the pontine claim above), but Borges’s is really a mystical insight, and a profound one. It’s also frightening, since the line between monism and solipsism is thin and porous, more to do with spirit than with mind per se. And, as an artistic program, this kind of collapse/transcendence of individual identity is also paradoxical, requiring a grotesque self-obsession combined with an almost total effacement of self and personality. Tics and obsessions aside, what makes a Borges story Borgesian is the odd, ineluctable sense you get that no one and everyone did it.
David Foster Wallace, “Borges on the Couch, Both Flesh and Not via Biblioklept
Hey guys. Some of you may know me, I realize many of you do not. *shrugs* that’s ok. The reason why I’m posting today is… another round of more is coming up. I know that many of us are working hard to get our words and ideas together before august 10th. Good luck everyone!!
I thought I would take a moment to tell you why I wanted to be a part of this. Childhood cancer. Those words should make you feel many things, mostly sad and mad. A dear friend of mine, Ivy is a childhood cancer survivor. She is full of spunk, and love and craziness. I’m so glad that she’s here.
She didn’t have DIPG. If she did, she wouldn’t be alive.
See, those kids don’t live. They usually only live 9 to 12 months after being diagnosed. And did you know that since January, 100 kids who were fighting the DIPG fight are now dead?
What is DIPG? Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, is a cancerous pediatric brain tumor located in the middle of the brainstem, the pons. It is inoperable due to its location and the way it intertwines with healthy tissue. This area of the brain controls vital abilities such as heart rate, breathing, swallowing, walking, eye sight and movement, balance, and so much more. DIPG steals the child’s physical abilities while leaving the mind completely intact and the child fully aware. DIPG is considered terminal upon diagnosis and has a 0% chance of survival. Currently DIPG means your child WILL die. This is real, this is hell, this must change.
Solar Pons is a fictional detective created by August Derleth as a pastiche of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.
Upon hearing that Doyle had no plans to write more Holmes stories, the young Derleth wrote to him, asking permission to take over the job. Conan Doyle graciously declined the offer, but Derleth, despite having never been to London, set about finding a name that was reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, and wrote his first set of Solar Pons pastiches. He would go on to write more stories about Pons than Conan Doyle did about Holmes.
Pons is quite openly a pastiche of Holmes; the first book, (pub. 1945), was titled In Re: Sherlock Holmes. The similarities can hardly be missed: Solar Pons has prodigious powers of observation and deduction, who can astound his companions by telling them minute details about people he has only just met, details that he proves to have deduced in seconds of observation. The Pons stories are narrated by Dr. Lyndon Parker. The pair share lodgings at 7B Praed Street. Their landlady is Mrs. Johnson. Solar Pons has a smarter brother named Bancroft.
Solar Pons isn’t merely Sherlock Holmes with the name changed, because Sherlock Holmes also exists in Pons’ world: Pons and Parker are aware of the famous detective and hold him in high regard, but while Holmes’ adventures took place primarily in the 1880s and 1890s, Pons and Parker live in the 1920s and 1930s (when Derleth began writing). Pons fans regard Derleth as having given Pons his own distinctly different personality, far less melancholy and brooding than Holmes’.
The Pons stories cross over, at times, with the writings of others, such as Derleth’s literary correspondent H. P. Lovecraft in “The Adventure of the Six Silver Spiders,” Fu Manchu author Sax Rohmer, and Carnacki the Ghost-Finder in “The Adventure of the Haunted Library.”
(Derleth’s’ other great claim to fame, of course, is that he ensured Lovecraft’s body of work was not lost to the ages. He was a co-founder of Arkham House, the only publisher to reprint Lovecraft’s fiction until fairly recently.)
The tales in the Pontine canon (as the collected Solar Pons works are known) can be broadly divided into two classes, the straight and the humorous, the straight being more or less straightforward tales of detection in the classic Holmesian mode, while the others—a minority—have some gentle fun, most notably by involving fictional characters from outside either canon, most notably Dr. Fu Manchu, Hercule Poirot, and The Saint.
Several of the Pontine tales have titles taken from the famous “unrecorded” cases of Holmes which Watson often alluded to, including the matters of “Ricoletti of the Club Foot (and his Abominable Wife),” “The Aluminum Crutch,” “The Black Cardinal,” and “The Politician, the Lighthouse, and the Trained Cormorant.” Others are riffs on Holmesian tales, such as “The Adventure of the Tottenham Werewolf” paralleling (in some ways) Holmes’ case of the Sussex Vampire.
Solar Pons, in turn, inspired fanfiction that continued after his death in 1971, most significantly written by author Basil Copper.
A society, the Praed Street Irregulars (PSI), is dedicated to Solar Pons. The Irregulars were founded by Luther Norris in 1966 in the style of the better-known Baker Street Irregulars.
Every year a small number of radio DJs from the Dutch radio station 3FM are voluntarily being locked up in a glass house the week before Christmas. The glass house is placed in a different city every year, and has a few commitments for the DJ’s: they aren’t allowed to eat solid food (only liquids are allowed), they must be on air constantly (taking turns as to who sleeps and who’s on air)whilst they’re on air they are exposed to the public, and most importantly; they must raise money for charity.
Every year, a different cause is chosen. This year their goal is to stop and prevent pneumonia from killing innocent children and people. Every year, in the spirit of Christmas, they raise millions for a great cause.
This year, a young boy named Tijn stepped forward, wanting to paint people’s nails in order to raise money for Serious Request. Six year old Tijn is suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which is a tumour located in the middle of the brain stem, and was being told he has less than a year to live. Tijn’s biggest wish was to raise money for Serious Request, and even though his initial goal was to collect €100 for the charity, he has now reached almost €2,000,000.
The trend Tijn started is phenomenal. Countless famous Dutch DJ’s, TV presenters, actors and actresses, politicians, even the prime minister (the man wearing a white shirt and glasses in the pictures above) and many more Dutchmen have painted their nails and donated to Serious Request.
- If you would like to join Tijn by painting your nails and donating to 3FM Serious Request, please go to to kominactie.3fm.nl/actie/lak-aan/doneer
- If you would like to know more about Tijn or stay updated on the amount of money he is raising, please go to: kominactie.3fm.nl/actie/lak-aan
- If you would like to know more about 3FM Serious Request and/or make a donation (for example by requesting a song) seriousrequest.3fm.nl
- If you would like to bid on products in the auction (for example Bastille merchandise signed by the band, FC Barcelona shirts signed by Messi and Suárez and much more), please go to veiling.3fm.nl
(Top to bottom) Livia Augusta, Julia the Elder, Agrippina the Younger
Livia was the wife and advisor of Augustus. She was born in 58 BC and her father had fought against Augustus, then known as Octavian, during the civil wars that erupted after the assassination of Julius Caesar. A general pardon was issued when Augustus was victorious and she was introduced to him in 39 BC. Despite her being married and 6 months pregnant with her second child, Augustus immediately divorced his own wife Scribonia and either persuaded or forced Livia’s husband - Tiberius Claudius Nero - to divorce her and they were married in January 38 BC, mere months after their first meeting and remained so for 51 years. The untimely deaths of Augustus’ nephew Marcellus and grandsons Gauis and Lucius - obstacles to Tiberius’ accession - are often attributed to Livia. Tacitus and Cassius Dio even suggest that she played a role in the death of Augustus in AD 14. Upon her son’s accession her influence began to weaken. In AD 29 at 87 years of age she fell ill and died. She was stripped of all honours granted to her during her lifetime and her will was left unfulfilled. Her ashes were placed alongside Augustus’ in the Mausoleum of Augustus without the pomp or ceremony befitting her status. It was not until AD 42, during the reign of her grandson Claudius, that her honours were restored to her, she was deified (becoming Diva Augusta - the Divine Augusta) and her statue was erected alongside her husband’s in the Temple of Augustus. Her turbulent and eventful life is well documented by the historians of the time. A dignified, proud and intelligent woman, she deeply influenced Augustus’ policies throughout his reign and helped him establish his dynasty.
Julia the Elder, known by her contemporaries as Julia Augusta Filia, was the daughter and only biological child of the emperor Augustus. Her mother was Augustus’ first wife, Scribonia, whom he divorced for Livia on the day that Julia was born. Julia and her father were never close and it is documented that he often called her his “cancer”. Her first marriage took place in 25 BC when she was just 14 years old. She was married to Marcellus, her cousin and Augustus’ heir. Upon his death in 23 BC, Julia was remarried to her father’s best friend Marcus Agrippa who was 25 years her senior. Their marriage took place in 21 BC and resulted in 5 children. Augustus arranged the marriage after being advised by one Maecenas that Agrippa’s power had grown to such levels that he must either be slain or brought into the family. Of their 5 children, 3 died during Julia’s lifetime; two of them - Lucius and Gaius died during Augustus’s reign and one - Agrippa Postumus - was exiled by Augustus and killed at the beginning of Tiberius’ reign. Her daughter Agrippina the Elder was the mother of the future emperor Caligula and the grandmother of the future emperor Nero. Upon Agrippa’s death in 12 BC Julia was married once again, this time to her step brother and future emperor Tiberius. The couple deeply disliked each other, lived separately and had no children. In 2 BC Augustus brought charges of adultery and treason against her and she was exiled to Pandateria alongside her mother Scribonia. She spent 5 years there and upon any mention of her or her mother Augustus would recite the Illiad; “Never to have married, and childless to have died!”. Julia’s death came about soon after Augustus’ death, with no sons or her father to protect her she was left wholly at the mercy of Tiberius. She starved to death in exile in AD 14. Her ashes were prevented from being buried alongside her family in the Mausoleum of Augustus by Augustus’ will.
One of the most prominent and well remembered women of the Julio-Claudian family, Agrippina the Younger was the great grand daughter of Augustus, the sister of Caligula, the wife and niece of Claudius and the mother of Nero. She was born to Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus in AD 14. At 13 years old, in 28 AD Agrippina married her first husband, a distant relative to the Julio-Claudian family, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus to whom she bore her only biological child, the future emperor Nero. Upon Tiberius’ death in 37 AD, her only surviving brother - Caligula - became emperor. Caligula gave his sisters unprecedented privileges. The sources suggest that he sexually assaulted Drusilla and Livilla, but details of his relationship with Agrippina are obscure. As Caligula’s reign deteriorated in to a reign of terror, his surviving sisters became the focus of his attacks. In 39 AD Livilla, Agrippina and a man named Marcus Lepidus were accused of treason. Accused of plotting Caligula’s murder Livilla and Agrippina were exiled to the Pontine Islands. After Caligula’s assassination and Claudius’ accession in 41 AD, Livilla and Agrippina returned to Rome. In 49 AD Agrippina married Claudius in a bid to place her son on the throne. She successfully convinced Claudius to name Nero as joint heir to his own son Britannicus and the sources of the period suggest that it was she who poisoned him in 54 AD to hurry Nero’s accession. During the early parts of Nero’s reign Agrippina exercised genuine power in the government of Rome. This lead to a power struggle, which culminated in several assassination attempts on Nero’s part. Cassius Dio claims that his final attempt was a self-sinking boat which automatically collapsed in open water with Agrippina aboard it. She, however, managed to swim to shore where assassins sent by Nero awaited her, her final words were “smite my womb”, wishing for it to be the first part of her body to be destroyed as it had let her give birth to such an “abominable son”, she died aged 43 in AD 59. The guilt of his mother’s murder stayed with Nero till the end of his own life and is attributed as one of the contributing factors for his downward spiral into the complete savage cruelty and depravity with which he ruled Rome during the remainder of his reign.
Descending tracts in the spinal cord. Descending tracts are generally motor, and are divided into pyramidal tracts (cotricospinal and corticobulbar - i.e. the voluntary ones) and extra-pyramidal (all the others).
Corticospinal tract: carries motor fibres. Has an anterior (15%) and a lateral (85%) branch. Anterior controls the axial muscles while the lateral controls limbs and skilled movements. They decussate in slightly different places, with the LCS crossing in the lower medullary pyramids, and the ACS at the spinal level they exit through.
Corticobulbar: not seen on this diagram because it doesn’t actually make it into the spinal cord. It terminates on cranial nerve motor nuclei to deal with motor functions of cranial nerves: facial expression, extra-ocular, etc.
Vestibulospinal: controls balance. It is special because it remains ipsilateral. Someone with a lesion of the vestibulospinal tract will fall (due to loss of balance control) towards the side of the lesion.
Reticulospinal: deals with reflexes. Has two branches, the pontine branch does extensor reflexes exclusively, while the medullary does both extensor and flexor. It also stays ipsilateral.
Tectospinal: another reflex type tract, that responds to visual and auditory stimuli. It is the reason that blind people can sometimes turn their head towards a flashing light without seeing it, but sensing it. Spooky.
Rubrospinal: bit vestigial in humans to be honest, most of its functions have been superseded by the corticospinal tract with which it joins in the lateral column of the spinal cord.