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Southern Cross Review

Review of fiction, education, science, current events,
essays, book reviews, poetry and Anthroposophy

Number 73, November - December 2010



Xie Chuyu (China)
Xie Chuyu was born in Shantou City of Guangdong Province in 1962. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Guangzhou Academy of Art in 1988. He has continued his classical training for many years, and is now an assistant professor at the Guangzhou Academy of Art, and a painter for Guangdong Art Creation Institute.


Editor's Page

"True Tales - JFK's Lost Suitcase"

  
It was 1960 – a half-century ago for those who can count. I worked as an American Airlines ticket and ramp agent at New York's LaGuardia Airport. It was a time of DC 3s and 6s, Convairs and later the Lockheed Electra turboprops - which began to fall out of the sky at around that time because of torque pressure on the wings. We did everything. Nowadays you buy your ticket on the internet or from a travel agent. Then you were more likely to have bought it from us at the airport. That means that we didn't only give you a boarding pass and sling your bag onto a belt, but we also issued your ticket by hand, which made us tariff experts as well. And fares were complicated those days – there were “open jaw” constructions, which meant that you could travel from A to B but return from C to A (the open jaw being from B to C) and still get the round-trip discount, by calculating one-half the round trip fares A-B and C-A. There were also “triangular” fares – A to B to C to A, for example: New York-Paris-Buenos Aires-New York.... Read more


Fiction

"The Black Widow of Córdoba" by Frank Thomas Smith

  
Andrew Johnson is tired, surely, but not tired enough to ignore the young mini-skirted beauty seated at the table near the window who had glanced his way twice in the past few minutes. Andrew is waiting for a bus at the terminal in Córdoba, Argentina, after having flown in starting from Minneapolis to Miami, where he connected with another flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil, then another to Córdoba.
         The terminal café looks like its counterpart in any South American provincial city: plastic tables and chairs, smoke-filled, unhurried middle-aged waiters in once white jackets and coffee stained black ties. Tired faces grimace as they sip muddy cafecitos or relax over cheap red wine. What makes this one distinctly Argentinian is the photograph of Evita Perón on the mirror that hangs behind the bar...Read more

"Axolotl" (Español) por Julio Cortázar

  
Hubo un tiempo en que yo pensaba mucho en los axolotl. Iba a verlos al acuario del Jardín des Plantes y me quedaba horas mirándolos, observando su inmovilidad, sus oscuros movimientos. Ahora soy un axolotl.... Leer más

"Axolotl" (English) by Julio Cortázar

There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at the Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl...Read more


"To Whom Can I speak Today?" by Iftekhar Sayeed

 
                NGO Directors 
"Who is it?
I could see nothing through the peephole. The banging on the door increased, and in the darkness sounded portentous. There had been a power failure. I heard feet taking the steps two at a time.
"Sir, it’s me, Jamaluddin!”
After the overthrow of the General, I decided to take a flat in a secure building, with guards, and an intercom. The power failure had rendered the last useless tonight – as on many previous nights. I recognised Jamaluddin’s voice, though, and slipped back the bolt...Read more

"Primum Non Nocere" by Michael Ingles

  
A hippopotamus can weigh up to 10,000 pounds, and is swift enough to outrun a man. The fastest man in the world is Usain Bolt, of Jamaica. Hippopotami are not native to the islands of the Caribbean.
Given this information; you might surmise that Usain Bolt need not worry about being overtaken by a hippopotamus running amok on his home island/nation of Jamaica, in the Caribbean. Given particular facts; it’s only reasonable to reach certain assumptions.
There is order in civilized society...Read more.


Current Events

"Prisoners of War - Bob Woodward and All the President's Men (2010 Edition)"
by Andrew C. Bacevich

         
Once a serious journalist, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward now makes a very fine living as chief gossip-monger of the governing class.  Early on in his career, along with Carl Bernstein, his partner at the time, Woodward confronted power.  Today, by relentlessly exalting Washington trivia, he flatters power.  His reporting does not inform. It titillates. A new Woodward book,  Obama’s Wars, is a guaranteed blockbuster.  It’s out this week, already causing a stir, and guaranteed to be forgotten the week after dropping off the bestseller lists...
Read more


Science

"The Giraffe's Short Neck" by Craig Holdrege

  
...The idea that the giraffe got its long neck due to food shortages in the lower reaches of trees seems almost self-evident. The giraffe is taller than all other mammals, can feed where no others can, and therefore has a distinct advantage. It seems compelling to say that the long neck and legs developed in relation to this advantage. Why else would the giraffe be so tall? You find this view presented in children's books, in web descriptions of the giraffe, and in textbooks.
But just because this explanation is widespread does not mean it is true. In fact, this "self-evident" explanation retains its ability to convince only as long as we do not get too involved in the actual biological and ecological details. Various scientists have noticed that this elegant picture of giraffe evolution dissolves under closer scrutiny. Here are a few examples of my and their objections...Read more


"The Universe as Hologram" by Michael Talbot

  
At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist  Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science. Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light...Read more


Features

"Stan the Man in New York" by Tom Mellett

  
My Polo Grounds memories center around Stan the Man Musial. I saw him in only two games but watched him hit four home runs! First, though, I need to backtrack a bit for that first game because that took place in Yankee Stadium on my 12th birthday in 1960 when my father took me to the 2nd 1960 All-Star Game where the NL beat the AL 6-0 on 4 home runs by Eddie Matthews, Willie Mays, Stan Musial and Ken Boyer...Read more




"No me arrepitino de tener 16 hijos" por Mariela Martínez

  
Nada fue fácil para Lilian Haidé González, de 40 años. Desde su muy humilde condición económica, cuenta cómo hace para mantener a sus 16 hijos. Un día antes del Día de la Madre, se parece a aquellas progenitoras inmigrantes que tenían familias numerosas para darle brazos a un país despoblado. Durante 21 años, estar embarazada fue el estado más habitual para Lilian. Es que su hijo mayor tiene 21 años y la más chica sólo dos....
Leer más


"I Don't Regret Having 16 Children" by Mariela Martínez

Nothing has been easy for Lilian Haidé González. She tells hows she manages to support her 16 children with very humble economic means. This day before Mothers' Day she reminds us of those original immigrant mothers who gave birth to large families to people an underpopulated country. For 21 years, being pregnant has been Lilian's normal state; her eldest son is 31 and the youngest daughter is two...
Read more



Anthroposophy

"The Spiritual Matrix - An Anthroposophical Reading" or: "This Essay is the Red Pill" by Seth Miller


  
This essay explores the Matrix trilogy of movies from the perspective of spiritual science. Close attention is paid to the actual events in the "text" of the movies, with an eye towards illuminating features concerning the major characters and plot elements in a coherent, symbolic, and mythological perspective. In particular the movies are shown to be uniquely understandable from the perspective of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical insights concerning human evolution... Read more


"The History and Actuality of Imperialism" by Rudolf Steiner

  
Today's lecture will be episodic, a kind of interspersion into our considerations, because I would like our English friends, who will soon be going home, to be able to take as much as possible with them. Therefore I will structure this lecture in a way to be as effective as possible. Today I would like, at first historically, not so much referring to the present – that can be done tomorrow perhaps – I would like to say something about imperialism, historically, but in a spiritual-scientific sense.... Read more




Karmic Relations, Volume 1, Lecture 6 by Rudolf Steiner

Continuing our studies of karma, it is necessary for us to perceive first how karma enters into humanity's development. We must perceive how destiny, interwoven as it is with free deeds, is really shaped and molded as the physical reflection of the spiritual world...Read more


Book Reviews

"Ravelstein"by Saul Bellow


  
I don't think that "Ravelstein" is really about Ravelstein – whoever he's supposed to be in real life, some say Alan Bloom, but this doesn't interest me much. The real antagonist of "Ravelstein" is Chick, Ravelstein's reluctant biographer. And Chick can't be anyone but Bellow himself, or who Bellow would like to think he is or would like us to think he is, for the disguise is transparent. Chick is old, a well-known writer of fiction, recently survived a serious illness by the skin of his teeth, married to a much younger woman, and Ravelstein's best friend, perhaps his only friend, Jewish. And his writing style is suspiciously identical to Bellow's. Sound familiar? Read more

"The Trojan Spy" by Gaither Stewart

  
There is no line that separates good and evil, no threshold over which one steps. Rather a long tunnel connects the two, a tunnel that moves from the brightly-lit chamber of the good towards the black abyss of the evil, a tunnel in which shadows deepen as we move closer to the abyss. We all spend time in these shadows, but most of us are equipped with a moral gyroscope that is constantly pulling us back towards the light. For some the pull is not strong enough and they plunge into the darkness of madness, criminality. Or they become CEOs... Read more

Letters to the Editor

  
I like the new format of SCR and I enjoyed your bit about natural selection.
There are several problems with the monkey theorem. If you’ve ever tried to state “the law of averages” you’ll know that it’s just a vague idea that “things even out in the end.” We have to deal with the laws of probability, which can be stated precisely and easily misapplied. It doesn’t matter how many monkeys and typewriters there are and it doesn’t matter if they die or wear out as long as they’re replaced by new ones. The mathematical absurdity of the thing can be shown quite easily. If the typewriter has 30 characters and instead of typing Hamlet we randomly type a phrase of 100 characters, the number of possible phrases is 30100... Read more




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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor
JoAnn Schwarz, Associate Editor

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