Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Agamemnon: The Names Have Changed but the Players Remain the Same

Greek philosophers, literature and history... who studies this stuff any more? I'd have to admit that Greek lit and history had little interest to me much of my life. I do remember studying the Odyssey at some point in high school, but it wasn't until much later that its significance struck a chord.

Many of the names from these ancient stories have glittered across pop culture, from Achilles to Zeus, Ulysses to Sysiphus, Poseidon to Prometheus, and Aphrodite to Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. (See; Backstory on the Trojan War.)

It was Andre Gide's Two Legends: Oedipus and Theseus that first brought to life in a seriously new way for me. In 2017 Harvard professor Richard Thomas, in his book Why Bob Dylan Matters, made many of us aware of how Bob Dylan had been immersed by or influenced by the Greek classics.

When I say "Greek classics" do you yawn? You might think, "What does a play written 2500 years ago have to do with life in the 21st century?" 

Let's start with who was Aeschylus? 

Aeschylus was a renowned ancient Greek playwright who lived from roughly 525 BC to 455 BC. He was widely regarded as the "father of tragedy." He's credited with introducing significant innovations to the genre, including the addition of a second actor to the stage, the development of dialogue between characters, and the incorporation of choral songs that explored themes of justice, fate, and the relationship between humans and the gods.

In his play Agamemnon there are four main characters plus a chorus. If you're familiar with. the Trojan War, you would know that Agamemnon was the brother of Menelaus, king of Sparta, whose wife Helen was abducted by Paris and taken to Troy. Agamemnon responded by assembling a coalition of Greek kingdoms to avenge this insult and ransack Troy.

So... here are the characters in the play. Do any of these sound familiar or resonate with people in our own time frame? ("If the shoe fits...")

Chrysus appeals to Agamemnon (ancient urn)

The highest-ranking official at the beginning of the play, he is its tragic hero. He's proud of his rank and accomplishments. Yet despite Agamemnon's leadership, he is less admired now by his subjects for fighting an unpopular war. He is portrayed as less intelligent and less forward thinking than his wife, believing prosperity will shield him from misfortune. Agamemnon attempts humility, saying he does not want to be treated as a god. But like other Greek tragic heroes, he is fatally flawed by hubris (pride).

Driven by the desire for vengeance and power, the shrewd, audacious Clytaemnestra is the play's most developed and complex character, even if her name is the most difficult to pronounce. She professes loyalty to Agamemnon and praises him at the same time as she plots his death. She also is argumentative, defending her thoughts and opinions to the Chorus when they disagree

Agamemnon's war captive, Cassandra is emotional and distraught by the destruction of her homeland. Given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, she can see accurately into the past, present, and future. However, after Cassandra refused to bear his child, Apollo cursed her so no one would believe these prophecies. (How much wisdom and insight is lost today because the voices of those most prescient are ignored?)

There's a sense in which Aegisthus is like Clytaemnestra. Both crave power and payback. Aegisthus, driven by the need to avenge some family wrongdoing, has this whole authoritative and menacing vibe. He's all about establishing a firm, in-control government, and he's not afraid to throw out threats about enslaving anyone who doesn't see eye to eye with him. Total power move, right? 

The Chorus represents the townspeople of Argos. They have a stake in whatever goes down and tend to drop some moral wisdom based on what the central characters decide. Aeschylus gives these Chorus folk their own opinions, throwing in a line or two, but it doesn't change how the drama unfolds. While they're generally Team Agamemnon, the big boss of Argos, they're not too keen on his war plans. When Agamemnon bites the dust, it makes an impact on the Chorus in a deep way.

The murder of Agamemnon

* * * 

See any parallels to what's happening today? I see plenty.

* * * 

For a full list of characters visit:

If interested, read the plot summary here:

The character analysis above is based on this:

The deed is done.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Putting Napoleon in Perspective: Insights, Notes & Quotes from "The Campaigns of Napoleon"

How significant was Napoleon? How large was his footprint on history? Is Napoleon worthy of a "big" Hollywood epic like Ridley Scott's latest production? 

In answer to the last question, Napoleon is indeed a worthy subject for a major motion picture. It waits to be seen if Hollywood can produce a film worthy of the man himself.

I myself became interested in Napoleon after reading the intro to James A. Arnold's Grant Wins the War: Decision at Vicksburg. In his prologue Arnold wrote that according to military historians there were only two military campaigns from the U.S. Civil War worthy of comparison to the genius and skill of Napoleon, Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Campaign and Grant's conquest of Vicksburg. Naturally this sparked in me a desire to learn more about Napoleon, so I did a little research and found the best book I could find, Chandler's 1200 page The Campaigns of Napoleon. His battlefield exploits were so astonishing that twelve of his battles are cited in the top twenty military campaigns of all time. For more than twenty years the battles of Napoleon consistently rose above the expected.

The quotes and observations below were primarily taken from the 120 page introduction to that volume.  

* * * 

"His powers were his own, but circumstances rendered them effective."

"All that is to happen is written down. Our hour is marked and we cannot prolong it a minute longer than fate has predestined."

His great skill: Translating (War) Theory into Activity.

· Napoleon was a Man of Action... not necessarily Original. He borrowed from history.

· He was "a developer and perfecter of the ideas of others." (p. 135)

He drew his major ideas from books.

· "I have fought sixty battles and I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning."

· "Read and meditate upon the wars of the great captains. This is the only means of learning the art of war."

Importance of Speed

· Seize the initiative & Keep it at all costs.

· The Objective: Swift destruction of the enemy's will to resist.

Importance of Planning

· Napoleon was "extremely thorough in his planning. Very little was left to chance.

· Yet, at the same time, he recognized Chance as a variable and believed

every plan should allow a period of time to remedy or exploit the unpredictable.

Importance of Time

· The loss of time (in war) is irreparable.

· Strategy is the art of making use of time & space. However, "space we can recover, time never."

· "I may lose a battle but I shall never lose a minute."

Importance of Moral Force

· The Moral is to the Physical as three is to one.

· Moral force, rather than numbers, decides victory.

Two Main Qualities of a Soldier

· "If courage is the first characteristic of a soldier, perseverance is the second."

Summing Up

I took an interest in battle strategies not because I wanted to be a soldier some day but, rather, because of a book by Al Ries & Jack Trout called Marketing Warfare, which AMSOIL founder Al Amatuzio loaned me more than 35 years ago. The twin topics--marketing and battle strategies--became a lifelong interest. 

Many people remember Napoleon only for Waterloo. Few Americans realize that Napolean was the most written about human being of the nineteenth century, with more than 100,000 books devoted to analysis of the man, his actions, his ideas and his life.


Bonus Tracks
A.I.-generated images based on Jacques-Louis David's Napoleon Bonaparte

Friday, November 24, 2023

Notes of Infamy: Paul Metsa's Song About the Shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald

Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. 

Today is the 60th anniversary of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being escorted out of the jailhouse. The event made an impression on me, as it no doubt did on many others who witnessed it as it happened.

The shooter was Jack Ruby. 

Bob Dylan wrote Murder Most Foul, a song about the shooting of the president. This other singer/songwriter from the Iron Range, Paul Metsa, wrote a song about the gunman who shot and killed the man fingered as JFK's assassin. You might call it Paul Metsa's "Signature Song." 

Moment of Impact
In the first one-third of this three-part drama, the song's structure is an echo of Frank Sinatra's "It Was A Very Good Year." Both tell the story of a life--Sinatra's being his own biography, Metsa's being Jack Ruby's, at 15 living in Capone's Chicago, at 21 taking an interest in guns, at 35 setting up shop in Dallas, etc.

The second act details the dramatic event at Dealey Plaza, culminating with the suggestion that Oswald was a patsy. The final third of the song explores the variety of theories as to what really happened in Dallas that weekend.

Metsa has a gruff attention-getting style of singing, and he's good at getting his blood up when singing this song. And it grows on you when he barks that chorus, "Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a Cavanaugh hat...."

    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a cavanaugh hat
    Whoever taught you to shoot a pistol like that
    Oh, you snuck in the basement and you stood in the back
    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a cavanaugh hat

    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were fifteen years old
    On the south side of Chicago you looked up to Capone
    Stole girls lunch money beat boys on their way home
    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were fifteen years old

    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were twenty-one
    you traded brass knuckles for a caliber gun
    In the Sherman Hotel bootleg whiskey did run
    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were twenty-one

    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were thirty-five
    Set up shop in Dallas, had nothing to hide
    A nightclub with hookers and cops side by side
    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby, when you were thirty-five

    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were forty-nine
    At the Carousel Club you kept the judges in line
    J. Edgar Hoover said there's no organized crime
    Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were forty-nine.

Read the rest of the lyrics here:

Cavanaugh Hat from the JFK Presidential Library and Museum

Paul Metsa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNxKhY-C8MA

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

JFK -- Murder Most Foul and the Debate Goes On

Is the JFK assassination the most controversial event of the past century? It certainly ranks high on the list of unresolved mysteries. I once read that more than 80% of Americans disbelieved the Warren Commission report, and to this day the event appears to be an incubator of more conspiracies than any other event in history.

The question of whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is just one aspect of the controversy. Once one accepts the possibility that he did not act alone, you open the much larger can of worms as regards who was really behind it all. 

The official investigation, led by the Warren Commission, concluded in 1964 that Oswald acted as the sole gunman in the assassination and that there was no evidence of a conspiracy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of noteworthy unexplained riddles surroundinng this tragedy. Questions about regarding how many shots were fired, the gunman on the grassy knoll, the "magic bullet" theory and unexplained deaths of people who may have expose the truth had they lived.

Here are some stories I shared a few years back:

And this one, which dropped during Covid, unexpectedly. Dylan delivers a wild ride of an ode called Murder Most Foul (lyrics). And yes, it is original and not like anything I can recall ever hearing. 
It begins....

‘Twas a dark day in Dallas - November ‘63
The day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was riding high
A good day to be living and a good day to die
Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
Say wait a minute boys, do you know who I am?

Here's the video from YouTube.
You can listen in full or listen in part, 
and you'll see how he sees it while seeing his art.

The amazing part of Dylan's version is how he switches point of view, including a segment where we're inside JFK's head... 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Biggest Drawbacks of Solar Panels

Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash
According to the MISO Dashboard, Solar produced one Mw of the 66.828 Mw in the 14 state upper midwest region today. Two thirds of the energy we relied on today came from coal and natural gas. A little less than a quarter was wind, and the rest primarily nuclear

Despite the emphasis on renewable energy sources, it's apparent we are long ways from satisfying current Net Zero targets or expectations. I decided to ask ChatGPT what the biggest drawback of solar energy were, and received this detailed reply: 

While solar panels are a clean and renewable source of energy, there are some drawbacks and challenges associated with their use. Here are some of the main drawbacks:

  • Intermittency and Variability: Solar power generation is dependent on sunlight, making it intermittent and variable. Cloud cover, time of day, and seasonal changes can affect the efficiency of solar panels. Energy storage solutions or alternative power sources may be required to address this intermittency issue.
  • High Initial Costs: The upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar panels can be relatively high. While the costs have been decreasing over the years, the initial investment can still be a barrier for some individuals or businesses. Government incentives and subsidies can help mitigate this issue.
  • Land Use Concerns: Large-scale solar installations may require significant land area. This can raise concerns about land use, especially in densely populated areas or regions with limited available space. Balancing the need for renewable energy with land conservation and other land uses can be a challenge.
  • Energy Storage Challenges: Storing solar energy for use during periods of low sunlight can be challenging and may require additional technologies, such as batteries. Current energy storage solutions, while improving, may have limitations in terms of efficiency, cost, and environmental impact.
  • Resource and Environmental Impact: The production of solar panels involves the extraction and processing of raw materials, some of which are non-renewable. Additionally, the manufacturing process and disposal of solar panels can have environmental impacts. Efforts are being made to improve the sustainability of solar panel production and recycling processes.
  • Aesthetic Concerns: Some people find the appearance of solar panels on buildings or landscapes unappealing. Aesthetic considerations can be a factor in the adoption of solar technology, particularly in residential areas.
  • Geographic Limitations: Solar energy generation is more efficient in regions with abundant sunlight. Areas with frequent cloud cover or long periods of darkness may not benefit as much from solar power without additional support from other energy sources.

One other concern regarding solar panels is their lifespan. I'm currently trying to confirm this, but solar panels become increasingly inefficient over time and need to be replaced every twenty years. Which means they will create rather mountainous garbage dumps around the country and around the world wherever they are utilized and discarded. By way of contrast, I was told (all these facts need to be confirmed) that all the nuclear waste of the past sixty years could be stored in an Olympic sized swimming pool.  

Leave a comment and identify your sources if you have more accurate numbers. 

The topic of energy creation and use is an important one. I hope to continue providing information that is useful, insightful and thought provoking on this topic going forward.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Engage it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Four Million

This morning Ennyman's Territory
hit four million pageviews.

I started it in 2007 as an experiment
to learn 
what blogging is.. 

For more than 15 years I posted nearly every day. 
It was something of an obsession.

I used it as a tool to organize my thoughts on various topics, 
to create, to engage others, as an excuse to research
and sometimes just to have a podium where I could 
share the things that were on my mind.

Thank you to everyone who has invested their time
stopping in for a visit these many years. 

Life is a fleeting. 
Don't be in such a rush that you fail
to make time to enjoy the beauty 
that surrounds you.

 Thanks again for visiting.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Gaza: Are These Things True? Or Are They Lies? I Find It All Quite Disturbing

Screen Shot: October 22, Gaza
The current horrors in Gaza show no signs of abating. As one Palestinian on Twitter put it, "No words to describe the horror we live every hour!" (I will continue to refer to the social media platform in this manner because it seems easier than "X, which was formerly Twitter") 

Certainly there is a propaganda war going on, so one has to find ways to differentiate reality from myth or disinformation.

For this reason, I am sharing here a batch of statements and observations, and you can help us by affirming, clarifying or disproving in the comments.

* * * 

During an Al Jazeera segment on Israel's bombing of Al-Wafa Hospital, they needed to pause to update viewers that Israeli airstrikes had also just killed the wife and children of one of their reporters, Wael Dahdouh, in an airstrike on a refugee camp they were ordered to flee to.

Source: Posted on Twitter


Netanyahu, the leader of Israel’s Master Race Democracy, declares, “We are the people of the light, they are the people of darkness,” then vows to fulfill biblical prophecy through the bombardment of Gaza.

There's no such thing as Geneva Conventions. This is all theatre for Westerners. Like children believing in Santa Claus.

Source: Posted on Twitter


Israel has not stopped bombing gaza despite the UN’s vote for ceasefire, please continue being vocal, emailing/calling politicians, and attending protests for at least a ceasefire and humanitarian aid

Source: Posted on Twitter


We are at the point where ambulances and civil defense crews no longer rescue anyone in Gaza. 

They have no fuel to move and it is too dangerous to move in the first place.

Corpses and injured people are laying in the streets and under the rubble of their bombed houses

Source: Posted on Twitter

Sy Hersh says that Netanyahu’s plan is to turn Gaza into another Hiroshima without the use of nukes. But nukes could be next.

Source: Posted on Twitter

The Situation in Gaza 

I had the opportunity to communicate with some members of my family. The situation is unbelievable. Hungry dogs are eating the remains of bodies buried under the rubble in Gaza City. The smell of decay pervades the city. There will be catastrophic health consequences. Food and clean water are scarce. One of my nieces was taken to the hospital because of lack of food two days ago. People are beginning to experience starvation in its most literal sense. They spend 7 hours in line to receive a single piece of bread for each member of the family. When food is found, it's exorbitantly expensive. If this continues before our very eyes, it will turn into a horrendous BLACK MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY.

Source: Private email to a friend earlier this past week

From Chris Hedges:
Israel was founded on lies. The lie that Palestinian land was largely unoccupied. The lie that 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes and villages during their ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias in 1948 because they were told to do so by Arab leaders. The lie that it was Arab armies that started the 1948 war that saw Israel seize 78 percent of historic Palestine. The lie that Israel faced annihilation in 1967, forcing it to invade and occupy the remaining 22 percent of Palestine, as well as land belonging to Egypt and Syria. 

Israel is sustained by lies. The lie that Israel wants a just and equitable peace and will support a Palestinian state. The lie that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. The lie that Israel is an “outpost of Western civilization in a sea of barbarism.” The lie that Israel respects the rule of law and human rights. 

Source: Israel's Culture of Deceit

Israel has violated more UN Security Council Resolutions than any other country.


A. Israel has been occupying Gaza  and killing civilians before Hamas existed

B. Israel’s indiscriminate bombing has killed hostages

C. Israel is holding thousands of innocent Palestinians

D. Israel does NOT have to do what it’s doing
Source: Posted on Twitter

A United Nations official stated that “these events didn’t happen in a vacuum.” Israel immediately denounced this statement as antisemitism.


HERE are the only countries who voted on the side of the United States and Israel regarding Gaza situation: Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Fiji, Guatemala, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, and Tonga. 


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