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William Leonard Pickard Has a Book Out! The Rose of Paracelsus!!!


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#181 bernhohl

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:45 AM

hmmmm.......you don't say, steampunk? as i recall, there haven't been scenes with men on horses raping women in The Rose.  well, no matter, as it appears to be a moot point at this time. 

 

before i depart for cambridge and the scholarly intrigues of chapter 9, i want to mention one more noteworthy passage in 8.  as the contact high with Cobalt proceeds, Leonard notes (208) that "The sky was churning heavenward, crystallizing in atomic lattices above us, as secure encoded communications laced the atmosphere from Cambridge to Princeton, to New Haven and Washington, D.C., to Austin and Madison and Los Alamos and Berkeley and Stanford. The great mind of optical fibers hustled revelations, and old children once more recalled the trumpeting heralds of evolution, and stood up to dance again by new fires."

 

i read this passage while outside, and it reminded me that, a few days prior, i'd been wondering what it might be like if all the rays of the electromagnetic spectrum, which we literally must be engulfed in 24/7, were visible to us. it is pretty much unimaginable.  We've created a world where our skin and bodies are under a brand new assault of various radiations, and we really don't have much long term research into the question of....what are radio, t-v, x-rays, microwaves, cells, tablets, laptops, remote controls, and a million other doodads operating with various waves doing to us, if anything? so far, doesn't seem to be a problem.  we'll see.   but there's a helluva lot of it out there, in here, everywhere....and it's just gonna get thicker.  i mean, what if i could have literally SEEN the book i just ordered for my iPad fall out of the sky from a satellite, whoosh into my router, and then race into my tablet.  what kind of show would THAT have been?  all these 0s and 1s......falling out of the sky. i'm not so jaded that i don't stand back on occasion and allow myself to be impressed with the outrageous CLEVERNESS of our species. damn, we is clever monkeys!  and who saw this happening back in 1994?  

 

so for leonard to view the churning sky and the atomic lattices of data proves to be a reminder of an invisible reality that we rarely acknowledge, but the existence of which means that things, on a cellular level and probably others, are much different. 


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#182 whirledpeas

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 07:49 AM

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

No, i am not a christian, they are not what i seen as a kid.. BUT your comment brought into memory this because i used to wonder "what do they mean by we only see things in our world obscured as looking thru a dark glass?"  But now it is clearing up a little. 

 

This is why we need Shrooms. 

 

Anyway, I am at chapter 5 now, still behind but no sign of men on horses yet.   I have wondered tho, if the 6 could be kind of representative of the Greeks 6 words/types of "Love"? 

 

Take care



#183 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 01:54 PM

The careful reader may observe that Leonard in writing The Rose has elected to describe the extent of women's and children's suffering: ranging first from the death of an elderly Buddhist nun (55-58) at Hoshin-ji monastery to a newborn at Pashupanipath in Kathmandu (190-191). Only in these two last chapters does he address what parents often consider the most innocent and vulnerable, both 6-8 year olds (compare 195-199 with 216-220) .
 
Regarding the inappropriate comment on "little girls" - note that Leonard has juxtaposed these chapters to highlight the similar themes of abuse, not to encourage readers' prurient assumptions. The scene with Crimson comforting Little Eve is a record of the compassionate acts of the Six, and obviously mirrors the feelings engendered with Abeer in Nepal.
 
Yes, there is a much later chapter involving in part smugglers'/mercenaries' assaults on Laotian villagers, but that is 14 chapters hence. Leaping about with comments on later chapters defeats the coherence of this thread, and confuses readers who may just be joining us. Here wehave concluded Chp 8, and are now beginning the discussion on Chp. 9 ("Crime's Own"), a lavish and surprising chapter upon which participants in this thread may now focus (citing page references, please).
 
Bernhohl (and, hopefully, SideStreet), I agree that we should plunge into Chp. 9, for it contains some of the best writing in The Rose. We explore the interactions of gifted graduate students even while the narrator (as we) remembers, yearns for, and is changed by memories of the Six.
 
- PED


#184 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 02:07 PM

As we now turn to Chapter 9 ("Crime Own") in The Rose, I am taken by the perfect Borges epigraph:
 
"Keeping tabs on an entity that embraced the whole planet was no trivial occupation"  (221)
 
Readers are treated to unexpected humor in this chapter, and lavish recollections of love among grad students, but notice also first the transitions - from the poignancies of abused children - to the return to campus from transformative encounters with the Six. It would be too abrupt to simply plunge into Harvard, so that the narrator recalls with gentleness "crippled Eve, who had never heard the whisper of seashells." (224).
 
And the excellence of these lines:
 
"These were mind warping years, the vaulting ambitions of Harvard's scholars, the Faustian bargain of the Six with their unearthly ... science" (224). The narrator is changed by each encounter with the Six: "Ever more sensitive now, I began to notice women in chartreuse taxis, thought of physicists being born ..." (225) ..."Mirrors troubled me." "Grasping the Six had the futility of the infinitely complex." (225)
 
Fascinating recollections abound. Notice the narrator was still reacting to Berlin: "Thin models drew my gaze in Harvard Square ..." (and referring to V-1's fingertip trailing V-2's abdomen)(225), and remembering still that exquisite night: "I was reciting some exorcism fragment from the Dark Ages" (225). 
 
Here's a subtlety, did you catch it? (Some require a second or third read to detect.) The narrator is trailing his Harvard friends near Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, where there was a wedding, and did so "somewhat dolorously, for the soprano was singing 'Wenn die Fruhlingslufte." (225) Compare the synchronicity of this event with the wedding in Berlin (131), where the soprano sang the same song (hence the narrator's concern with persistence of the phenomena).
 
There is much more in this chapter, for the discerning reader. Tell us of your own favorite lines, and disentangling of the many puzzles and patterns and foreshadowings in The Rose.
 
- PED

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#185 bernhohl

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 06:39 PM

one can't help but notice that the author, flexing his eclectic education, finds 2 occasions to flash his familiarity with high-powered weapons of international quality.  on page 226 (the barrels of SIG SSG 3000 sniper rifles, topped with Hensoldt scopes." and page 230 (Heckler and Koch MP55D6 silenced submachine gun with 7/62 NATO rounds).  i mean, shit, i've never heard of a Hensoldt scope, but something tells me Leonard has.....and knows that it's a top notch piece of work. 

 

the tale told by visiting lecturer MH on pages 228/229 is fascinating, and brings up limits, parameters, and boundaries that most of us never have to even contemplate, much less encounter.  

 

remember, this remarkable book was written on a legal pad.  in pencil.  in prison.  mull that over for a second.  



#186 Sidestreet

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 05:37 AM

I started re-reading Chapter 9 and I was also drawn in by the story of the hapless officer dropped into occupied France just before D Day, purposefully given bad intelligence and fed to the Nazis like a poison pill.  It's a great terrible story. [228-230]

 

The story reminds the narrator of Indigo's description of Ivy Mike, "the spy-counterspy operation of the Six to infiltrate drug enforcement long ago.  [He] thought of the dispora of their young operatives, and how those captured still rotted in small steel enclosures." [229]  For the narrator, the Six and others with their motivations are locked in a similarly momentous struggle for "the future of the free world." Id.

 

I'll be back with more on this chapter....

 

 

 

remember, this remarkable book was written on a legal pad.  in pencil.  in prison.  mull that over for a second.

 

They sure didn't stop him from having an impact, did they?



#187 Sidestreet

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:43 AM

Much of Chapter 9 has to do with Pickard's navigation of his Harvard curriculum, and the navigation of his fellow students' speculation.  He comes to a realization that, in order to avoid being an object of suspicion in the intrigue-drenched lecture halls of HKS, he needs to appear less secretive and more... transparent.  "Demurring when asked about background only stimulated curiosity.  Basic tradecraft described by the Six required that one limit the truth to a plausible, normal narrative among others, forsaking any memorable character and not attracting attention by the slightest evasiveness or braggadocio, but blending seamlessly and inconsequentially into any conversation."  [235]

 

This realization came on the heels of a pretty public embarrassment in class when Pickard's own friend jokingly called him out as a spy.  It was a playful ribbing, apparently with innocent motive, that held an unfortunate kernel of truth. 

 

Though he was no spy in the traditional sense, he later found himself courting the Director of Intelligence for CIA to oversee his Policy Analysis Exercise.  [244]  Not much came of this flirtation in the end, but the narrator's chosen subject matter is of interest: "potential heroin and fentanyl epidemics that might devastate the naive Russian population."  As he pleads the case for his thesis, he refers to "underground or indoor labs [that] can produce the equivalent of the world's annual heroin supply.  And fit it into a briefcase."

 

It was a prescient concern.  I don't know whether fentanyl was a public health issue in the mid-1990s when Pickard attended Harvard, but sure as shit it's a household word now.


Edited by Sidestreet, 16 August 2017 - 03:54 AM.

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#188 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 04:03 PM

"That's a fine observation, Sidestreet. Leonard was the first American researcher to study fentanyl abuse, following its use from Boston to Moscow, and predicting that it would be a serious issue one day in America. Notice the earlier mention:
 
"I narrowed the study to those actual fentanyl users who had survived the epidemic, to determine is they preferred it to heroin and why. By these means, one could assess the future proliferation of fentanyl in society" [160] 
 
At trial in 2003, Leonard reiterated the prediction that fentanyl and its analogues would cause great problems. In The Rose, he describes writing a briefing paper on fentanyl for the Assistant Secretary of State [247-249]. Later in The Rose, we look at the situation in Russia at that time, which parallels the current malaise in America."
 
Sidestreet, I would agree that the classmate who senses some covert life of the narrator was spot-on: "Pickard is spy" [235]. That's the first humorous portion of The Rose, although this Chapter (9- "Crime's Own) has several scenes that make one smile. For example: 
 
Hagendas excoriating the French students [232]
Hulk on the pranks played by Harvard's Lampoon [236-238]
The black student "Hat" commenting on dancing naked on marijuana [238-240]
The presentation in Afrikaans ("Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambo!" [240])
Wearing coveralls and carry a hoe into the Kennedy School [241]
Leonard goofing his presentation on rogue fissile material [241-242]
 
In that The Rose is so intense, it's good to see some levity. Will comment soon on some of the special writing in this chapter. Do we miss the Six? Never fear."
 
- PED


#189 Sidestreet

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:31 AM

Ha!  I did love the part where Hagendas put those guys in their place.  "Jaaaaaaaambo!" made me smile too.

 

The description in Chapter 9 of the students' exams rang true and reminded me of my own pressure cookers.  More intensity.   And then the release, the relief when time is called...  "and no one -- not one -- looked back." [252]


Edited by Sidestreet, 21 August 2017 - 05:33 AM.


#190 bernhohl

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:20 PM

yes, those moments of levity are certainly welcome and PED is right in noting their abundance in chapter 9.  

 

and also.....on this day of the American Eclipse, i can't help but note......Leonard just happens to end this chapter with a Total Eclipse, as seen on the plane heading east to Moscow!  how about that?  


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#191 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 10:38 PM

Before we leave Chp. 9, we might consider that Leonard is, as the reader may be, remembering the Six, and yearning to meet with them again.
 
"but after Berlin and Kathmandu and Princeton, I knew they tread on holy ground" [245]
 
"Only shadowy postulates were left of them ... but since Berlin the sounds around me, the murmur of voices, the winds off the Charles, were carved into nocturnes" [245].
 
Notice the subtle reference here to the playing of a Chopin nocturne in Berlin by V-1 ("transposing a Chopin nocturne from memory" [135] and hold that thought, for it appears again in the next chapter.
 
Chapter 9 also has several detailed vignettes of the amorous interplay of the graduate students, from one hapless academic to the vastly sophisticated women, all of which can be savored ("when she combed her tresses with a silver-backed comb, her breasts lifting like spring plums, Hammer succumbed" [246] ... (she) "pretended little seizures of the love act, only to meet his reproving glare. At other times, she was a true bluestocking, and broke her spells with maidenly giggling" [247] ... I could see him internally enumerating his sins, while thinking of her pale nipples like grapes" [251]
 
The reader might ask why such focus on the grad students. Only in much later chapters is this revealed. A second read of The Rose shows many foreshadowings of who the grad students (at least the women) truly are.
 
Very good, Bernhohl, noticing the total eclipse in this chapter and the synchronicity with the actual eclipse this week. Side Street, your summation of the action was directly on point - refreshing. If there are no further comments on Chp. 9, we now might move to Chapter 10 in Moscow, one of the shortest ("The Whisper of Stars" - a lovely title). Farewell to Chapter 9 with this phrase:
 
"At the end of term, all of these paths were interlacing: the intrigues of the Six, the diverse studies overseas, the hunters and the hunted, love at Harvard. I had become the man who knew too much" [251].
 
- PED

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#192 bernhohl

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:58 AM

right away, in a Whisper of Stars (agreed as to the excellence of that phrase in describing a a clear and cold Russian night), we see, on pages 256/257, leonard waxing journalistic, providing a fine picture of the shock of Moscow, as seen through the eyes of one who has just landed and is coping, no doubt, with some significant jet lag.  and once again, one gets the sense that The Rose has its own organic pace, that when appropriate, leonard will take the time and the words to give a thorough description of scenes that other books and authors might overlook or treat with carelessness.  he will help your mind's eye construct the images that will enrich the reading experience, and that is one of the reasons The Rose can satisfy as thoroughly as it does.  



#193 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:29 PM

Bernhohl, Side Street, and other readers, we now have the pleasure of Chapter 9 ("The Whisper of Stars"). The first epigram, a quote from Pasternak - Zhivago's poem to Lara - made me wonder of the emotional connection to Russia that Leonard may have.
 
Of the writing in this short chapter, we find ourselves interviewing the head of the MVD Drug Department, Major General Aleander Sergeev (Sergeev, one might research, has died in Moscow).
 
The opening paragraphs of The Whisper of Stars summarizes Moscow post-glasnost, the women, the mafiya, the army, the secret operatives, the blizzard of international funds, the kiss under the Red Star.
 
The charming closing line [264] is reminsicent of Leonard's being outed as a "spy" at the Kennedy School [235].
 
Your impressions?
 
- PED


#194 bernhohl

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 11:50 PM

first a quick thought.....in response to the passing of musician super cool cat walter becker, who was bassist and half the songwriting team of the great Steely Dan and who just recently passed on 9-3-17......here are the lyrics to the song Bodhisattva, on the second Steely Dan album called Countdown to Ecstasy......

 

bodhisattva, gonna sell my house in town

bodhisattva, gonna sell my house in town

and i'll be there to shine in your japan

sparkle in your china

yes i'll be there

bodhisattva bodhisattva bodhisattva bodhisattva

 

all time greatest rock song ever about a buddhist archetype.....i feel that M, V, I, C, and C would be very ok with this song.  



#195 bernhohl

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:20 PM

and yes, in this brief chapter, leonard gets a whiff of........the government cinder block upon which so many heads get smashed.  this one is in russia.....but there are many on our planet.  what's especially maddening, as leonard discovers.....the path of right action that can be productive and helpful to people often runs directly counter to the immovable objects that are official government policy.  it won't be last time for such frustration in The Rose.  



#196 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:11 AM

Wonderfully, there has just been posted the recent presentation on The Rose at the Breaking Convention at the University of Greenwich UK. Readers include London artist and radio host Simon Tyszko, Whole Foods founder Greg Sams, and PhD in literature Nese Devenot. See:
 

[Direct Link]

(the Breaking version)
 
http://theculture.ne...rd-rose-talk-17(Simon Tyszko's edited version, which includes the audience reaction and photos)
 
Leonard also did a reading by phone of the scene with Indigo in Salzberg: [119]("then brought his forehead to mine") through [121]("the springtime of our mind"). This currently is the only recording of his voice on the Net.
 
Post and share. Enjoy!
 
- PED

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#197 bernhohl

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:39 PM

yes.....quite! this is pretty neat.  do make time to take this in.  it runs 22 minutes, as i recall.  and leonard's recording quality is quite good. obviously....essential listening for Rose sniffers!  (ooh, nice air name there....Rose Sniffers)



#198 bernhohl

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:08 PM

a correction....i had a tech glitch at 22.00 into the video (my problem, not the clip).....the whole vid is 38.00, and features a hearty greeting from Joanna Harcourt-Smith, a rather famous psychedelitrix from the 60s and 70s.  

 

one overall observation.  one factor that makes the Rose the enriching read it is.....leonard's ability to take a rather mundane moment of life and write about it in a slightly skewed, leonardian fashion, giving it a little extra glow and making for a ongoing accumulative appreciation of the craft and skill involved in pulling such sentences off. 



#199 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 02:54 PM

Sidestreet, can you comment? I liked the scene in "Whisper of Stars" where Leonard and the alluring mathematician's daughter were trapped in the Mercedes within the gates of the MVD,  with a Russian tank barrel pointed at their heads [260-261]. And the laboratory scene with Dr. Sorokin, forensic chemist for all of Russia, advising him to avoid interviewing the FSB (former KGB).
 
"Don't go over there," he cautioned, "they think eveyone's a *spy* [264]
 
Did you notice that this is an almost humorous flashback to the scene with students at the Kennedy School?
 
"Well. We all know Captain Pickard is a *spy*. [235]


#200 PoorEdgarDerby

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:22 PM

Yes, the readings of The Rose at the University of Greenwich in London this summer were the first to appear in audio online. 
That was a humorous comment by Nese Devenot, warning readers of "big words," then going on to describe Leonard's "quotidian" days at Harvard. Yet, The Rose is written in language that simply is literary, in the sense of Nabokov or Durrell. It's OK to challenge the new reader, and to encourage younger readers to climb this mountain. The view is oceanic.
 
Nese also indicated a reader's group would be forming. According to the tweets (@walking), readers are invited to contact the site and offer to participate in podcasts on The Rose. Readers at Mycotopia who enjoy The Rose might respond to that.
 
If we've completed comments on "The Whisper of Stars," we might move to the exciting and complex new chapter "Gigi" (Chp. 10). Now, *here's* a wild ride for readers. A portion of Gigi was read at the University of Greenwich by Whole Foods founder Greg Sams [267]("He extended his hand ...) though [268] ("But we can't *live like this! I cried ...).
 
Sidestreet, comments on Chp 10? Bernhohl? Others who are with us thus far or who recently have joined?
 
- PED





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