Sunday, June 24, 2012

Manners Revisited: Lessons from a Founding Father

Complex and comprehensive moral philosophies like those of Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas get the lion's share of credit when we praise works which offer a path of self cultivation. Indeed, they ought to. Yet if you tried to live solely in emulation of Socrates or the great-souled man I wonder how your life would transpire. How well along would you go as a querulous instigator or a detached contemplator? Very for yourself, in many ways, but certainly something would be lacking in one's relations with others. A certain and subtle smoothing of relations amongst individuals is necessary for social intercourse, manners if you will. Edmund Burke wisely justified manners on the grounds that they work by constant action and that they precede complex moral and legal thinking. Manners are not consciously acted or adopted. As habit they contribute with great force to the character of the individual and as inherited wisdom they contribute to the character of families, communities, and so forth.

For the same reasons they are difficult to bring into being ex nihilo. First, one is hard pressed to introduce manners to an adult accustomed reflexively to acting on his whims and inclinations. Habits resist change and manners, dealing as they do with the minutiae of social intercourse, can seem trite and even fatuous when explained. Second, it is no mean feat to establish a tradition. To cultivate oneself into a genteel individual, especially among barbarians and fools, is daily work; to create in yourself an example worthy of emulation is extraordinary; to pass on your ways is both beautiful and good fortune.

Colonial Americans, then, reached far when they sought to take up the manners of the British nobility. The young George Washington took up this endeavor when in his early teens he copied out 110 maxims from an English volume on manners and courtesy. This volume was in fact a translation of a French book which itself was a copy of an Italian one. They might be titled, "How to get along without dishonoring yourself or offending others," and are not such ends laudable?

Many are obvious, some matters of hygiene, and others strictly concern respect for the formal hierarchy of aristocratic life. I would like to look at a few of the more curious and those I think especially overlooked.

Check the full list of 110 rules here.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

Repetitive motion and noise is distracting and annoying, especially for people suffering from misophonia.

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave. . .

This is one of many ways to send the insulting signal to your company that they are not important.

38th In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein.

When someone is sick they don't care what you just read online. They don't care how you got better, or what your doctor said, what you saw on Dr. Oz, and unless you are at a conference of the American Medical Association, they don't care about any new studies. They're sick: leave them alone.

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside.

Contrary to common practice, you do not have to engage your vocal chords to sneeze. There is in fact no "ahhh" even though there is a "choo."

40th Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

68th Go not thither, where you know not, whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice without being Ask'd and when desired do it briefly.

You don't have to offer your opinion, even if a matter is being discussed in your presence. If asked, you don't have to go into detail. When explaining yourself there is much to take into consideration, including who might feel bad because he does not understand, who might be offended at the content, who is in fact an expert on the subject, and so forth. Sometimes it is simply best to express concern or doubt, or if necessary lest you be thought tacitly to disagree, a "lack of persuasion."

41st Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Proffesses; it Savours of arrogancy.

Some of us are blessed with many gifts, but such people need not display them all, to all people, or at the same time. Likewise, in any given group of friends every individual has a skill at which he is expert within that group. It is usually best to let them keep their roles.

55th Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.

People look disgusting eating out of paper and foil containers as they hustle around.

91st Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

I would add, with humility, not to find fault with other people eat.

75th In the midst of Discourse ask not of what one treateth but if you Perceive any Stop because of your coming you may well intreat him gently to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it's handsome to Repeat what was said before.

When someone enters a room it is polite to clue them in on the content and direction of the conversation.

77th Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.

No one wants to hear about your business arrangements, especially what you are spending or saving on.

78th Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Vertue, commend not another for the Same.

Do not set up comparisons amongst people present, it's a recipe for much awkwardness. Likewise, it is not necessary to spread the complements around. If someone complements Peter's photography and you know Gerhard is an accomplished photographer, find some other time and way to complement Gerhard.

Bonus Flash Game: How would your manners fare in Victorian England?

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tolkien on Nature: Cultivation vs Coercion

"The modern world meant for [Tolkien] essentially the machine. . . He used ["machine"] very compendiously to mean. . . almost any alternative solution to the development of the innate and inherent powers and talents of human beings. The machine means, for him. . . the wrong solution: the attempt to actualize our desires, like our desire to fly. It meant coercion, domination, for him the great enemy. Coercion of other minds and other wills. This is tyranny. But he also saw the characteristic activity of the modern world is the coercion, the tyrannous reformation of the earth, our place." – Christopher Tolkien

These thoughts from Christopher Tolkien on his father's work touch on one of the more fascinating yet tantalizing inchoate strains within J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, that of a philosophy of nature. He draws primarily from a letter Tolkien wrote in the early fifties clarifying the underlying themes of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion and readers are encouraged to seek this enlightening letter of some 10,000 words in the Houghton Mifflin volume, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Let us start by considering Tolkien's broad and unconventional definition of "machine" as "almost an alternative solution to the development of the innate and inherent powers and talents of human beings." We must assume he means not simple machines such as levers and wheels but rather complex machines. Simple machines simply balances the loads and direct the energy applied by man. The lever puts his energy where it is most effective, the wheel balances a load so it may be pulled and so forth for simple machines. How do simple tools, "develop the innate and inherent powers and talents of human beings?"

A hammer and chisel develops a man's coordination between his hands and his eyes and develops his visual sense of proportion and the rightness of what he cuts, such as the stone of a sculpture. The same is true for a brush which requires him uniformly to cover a material such as a canvass. Knives and scythes require him to know where and how much and how to cut, such as the stem of a flower. A whip requires him to know where and how and how hard to swing, such as in spurring a horse. Shaping the sheets with the lines on a sailboat requires careful attention to the geometry of the sail and the direction and strength of the wind. Even almost passive simple tools like lenses help man focus his attention on acute details.

All of such simple tools have in common two things. First, they develop a specific, unique individual faculty. Second, the demand a specific, unique, and firsthand knowledge of the materials with which you are working, such as the density of a piece of wood or the strength of a piece of stone.

In contrast machines alienate the user from the material. They do not require the use of cultivating any talents for interacting with nature, only for interacting with the machine. (This may not be quite so true for the inventor of the machine but it certainly is to the disinterested user.) The motor on a boat allows you to sail with disregard for currents and winds. Jackhammers and spinning saws cut without asking him to know how strong it is what he hopes to break. A glider falling gains speed and thus lift by its wings where as a a powered plane forces air across the wings. An unpowered mower requires you to know what you are cutting and thus how fast to go, how hard to push, and how high to set the blades. A powered mower simply cuts down everything in its path.

Machines have in common distancing the user from knowing by his senses what is the nature of the material he disturbs and purports to use and this prevents him from knowing the processes by which to use them. He learns only to use the machine. Complex machines, like the process of skill specialization, of course do liberate man from certain tasks and free him to perform others. They also allow him more liberty to manipulate nature. According to Tolkien's definition, though, despite this gain we see man does lose something.

Notice it is here not only concerned with nature itself but the effect of machines on man. In the Silmarillion, Tolkien, discussing the Ents, the shepherds of the trees, writes that while the Ents will guard the trees, "there will be need of wood." Tolkien is, I think more than is obvious in the Silmarillion which does not seem to revolve around man, concerned also with man and that he harms himself in coercing nature instead of cultivating himself. As his son Christopher points out in the above documentary the One Ring is the machine mythologized. The Ring allows the individual to bypass the means and simply and immediately actualize his will. It is this distance from, or blindness of, the means which, in part, dooms any attempt to use the ring, whether for good or ill.

Yet Tolkien does express disapproval of wantonly changing, "bulldozing" he says, the real world. Yet the theory we just discussed is mostly centered on man. By what principle ought man change his world?

Tolkien contrasts mechanical "re-creation" with artistic "sub-creation." Whereas mechanical re-creation seeks to make without regard for means, that is to say with no limiting principle, artistic sub-creation is content to create a secondary world which does not infringe on the primary world. The world of a symphony or painting reflects some truth of the primary world but does not replace it, moreover it derives its significance from it. Recall that the great jewels, the Silmarils, are not merely works of art but  composed of the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. They are in a sense containers or distillations of the best of nature while they are the unique fruits of their artistic creator. In contrast, philosopher Roger Scruton has observed, "The ugliest of modern art and architecture does not show reality but takes revenge on it." We may conclude then that beauty is the principle by which man's actions as creator and crafter are governed. His highest pursuit is not after the useful, which becomes a tyranny over nature and himself, but "useless" beauty. Man cultivates the beautiful in himself by himself cultivating the beauty of nature.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Leisure, Mangled

Originally a comment left at The Chronicle of Higher Education website for the article, In Praise of Leisure, by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky

I can't say I'm persuaded, and not just because of the superabundance of quotes which the authors seem to think fill in the gaps of the argument, or the fact that this is a pale retread of select Plato and Aristotle without the context of their ethics, or the passive swipes at easy targets. Rather their inattention to the essential matter of definition is shockingly sloppy.

First, the authors define "leisure" as "activity without extrinsic end" and then as "spontaneous activity," and I pass over the latter on account of its senselessness (as written.) By "extrinsic" one could mean either "inessential" or "external." Now since they imply leisure is very important I suppose they mean "external," which, let us be honest, they should have written even though it does not sound fancy. (Or they should have qualified what the task was extrinsic to, since it is not extrinsic to the individual.)

Anyway, the authors go on to give examples of a teacher, a musician, and a scientist which are all inappropriate because as you say, sort of, it is the purpose (or lack thereof) that makes a leisure activity. They may be paid, the authors say, but because such people don't do it for the money, it is leisure. They chose these particular crafts because they are respectable and you essentially argue that such activities are by nature leisure activities (although they don't say why.) What they should have said was "anything chosen for its own sake" is a leisure activity, but that doesn't pander to the likely Chronicle readers, I suppose. Too, it could apply to any activity.

Fine, then, we have our definition of leisure. Why is it important? Frankly, that's what the article should have been about. Instead we get a lot of quotes to make us feel smart and elite. Oh, and who fits such a caricature of someone who values money in itself? Scrooge McDuck? Don't most people with money spend it on things? Why not argue that those things are wasteful? Because the authors don't want to offend their target audience by telling them that they should not spend on iPods and trips to the Caribbean and should instead take "stoic vacations" in their minds? Isn't such a rebuke sort of implied by their "limits" on money, since limiting money would limit people to what you think are the essential goods?

Second, the authors define capitalism (kinda sorta) as desiring wealth. Why? I know they want to demean mindless acquisitiveness but why call such "capitalism?" Capitalism has as often been defined as simply or essentially, "absolute property rights."

Speaking of rights, I would mention their "[il]liberality." They write that liberalism is not neutrality but specific values. Fair enough. They also implied (sneaky!) that, like Keynes, Berlin, and Trilling, that the state ought to "uphold civilization" otherwise the people with money will control public taste. Since they let this cat out of the bag. . . a few questions.

They use the word "guardians of capital" to set (just whom anyway?) as the "guardians of culture." Platonic guardians, I take it? So the elite should control, via the state, what is promoted? Or the people, because they elect the state? Would they argue that democracy chooses the good, or defines it? Better than oligarchy? Does money control taste? Does it change or promote it? Has it? Does it more than other means? Why? If so, doesn't that spell doom for a liberal society and property rights?

But wait the authors don't want to ban money, it's just that "the game should be subject to rules and limitations." So I guess they will indeed be the guardians. So just what brand of "liberalism" are they advocating? "State-guided liberty?"

Lastly, don't you think advocating the good life and living it joyfully will promote it better than ivory tower finger-wagging? Or developing a philosophy based on values? No, better to write a quasi-scholarly parade of quotations to sell your book in the hope that it competes with Michael Sandel's equally flatulent book which just beat theirs to press.

I'm willing to believe their book is better than this, but who would buy it after such a poor precis? I would rather re-read Josef Pieper's, "Leisure: The Basis of Culture," which beat their book to press by 64 years and deals systematically with actual concepts and philosophy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


The man of firm and righteous will,
     No rabble clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant's brow, whose frown may kill,
     Can shake the strength that makes him strong.

". . . The idea of the genius begins from the paterfamilias who in begetting children becomes the head of a family. His essential character is isolated and given a separate spirit-existence; he carries on the family which owes to him its continuance and looks to him for protection. Thus, as a member in that mysterious sequence son–father–son–father, the individual gains a new significance; he is set against a background which, instead of being a continuous surface, is broken up, and the pieces are shaped, and one of them is shaped like himself. His genius, therefore, is that which puts him in a special relationship to his family which went before him, and has perished, and to his family which is yet to be born of his sons. A chain of mysterious power links the family from generation to generation; it is because of his genius that he, a man of flesh and blood, can be a link in that unseen chain.

"Here we may recall the custom, indeed the right, by which noble families set up in a recess of the central hall of their houses, at first, wax-masks and, later, busts of their ancestors who had deserved well of their family or of the state. In the most solemn domestic rites of the household these busts were made to associate. There was no question of ancestor-worship or appeasement of the departed; rather, it was a demonstration that they and all for which they stood still lived on and that they supplied the spiritual life to the family."

The Romans, by R. H. Barrow

Marcus Aurelius, "From my father. . ."

Marcus Annius Verus, Marcus
Aurelius' biological father.
1. I am indebted to my grandfather Verus for his good disposition and sweet temper.

2. From my father's reputation and my memory of him, I learned modesty and manliness.

4. Thanks to my great-grandfather, I didn't have to waste my time in the public schools but had good tutors at home instead and learned that one cannot spend too much money on such things.

16. From my (adoptive) father I learned:
  • courtesy and unswerving loyalty to decisions taken after hard thought
  • indifference to pomp and praise
  • industry and steadiness
  • a keen interest in any proposal for the public good
  • reward given strictly to merit
  • the knowledge of when to press on and when to ease up
  • chaste habits and the love of companionship
My father allowed his friends the freedom to eat and travel with him as they pleased, and he took no offense when their own affairs detained them. In business meetings, he never accepted a first impression or a plausible answer without subjecting it to detailed and searching inquiry. Smiling and calm, he kept his own counsel and did not make capricious or extravagant demands on his friends. In all things great and small, he exercised foresight and prepared down to the last detail for every eventuality, yet without making a big production of it. 

My father taught me:
  • to refuse public applause and to eschew all forms of flattery
  • to be vigilant in managing the affairs of the empire, to be frugal in spending from the public purse, and to put up with the inevitable grumbling that will follow from those who want something for nothing.
  • to avoid being superstitious toward the gods and obsequious toward men, knowing that it is better to be sober and self-reliant and to distrust the novelty of invention and the vulgarity of popular esteem.
My father enjoyed, without pretention or self-indulgence, the luxuries that his fortune lavished upon him; but when these were not available, he never seemed to miss them. No one ever mistook him for a pundit, a toady, or a pedant, nor failed to recognize in him the qualities of a mature and accomplished man insensible to flattery and able to govern himself as well as others. He respected sound learning and those who seek the truth, and he remained on good terms with the rest, but from a distance.

From my father, I learned:
  • a cheerful and friendly disposition, within reason
  • prudent care for the body–which he neither abused in luxurious living, nor pampered with excessive exercise and diet, nor neglected unduly, and thereby kept himself almost free from doctors, medicines, and salves
  • a true regard for those who have mastered a particular or subject–the art of public speaking, for example, or a knowledge of law or history or any other subject–and a genuine desire to see that each of these receives the honor due him.
A true Roman, my father didn't worry about keeping up appearances. He felt no anxiety or stress. He took pleasure in treating familiar subjects repeatedly and in staying in the same old places. Even after the most violent headaches, he would return quickly and energetically to his work. He hated secrets and kept them only when affairs of state demanded it. Moderation and good taste marked his celebration of the holidays, his public works, his distribution of relief to the poor, and his other official acts. Whatever he did he did out of a sense of duty to meet a real need, not to gain popularity.

My father never bathed at odd hours or got carried away with his building projects. Never did he pretend to be a connoisseur of food and wine, a fashion expert, or an authority on good looks. His clothing, generally of Lanuvian wool, was made in Lorium, where he had a country house. Indeed, the way my father treated the tax collector of Tusculum, who hounded him by mistake, is a good example of his manner. No black looks, no harsh words, no aggressive behavior that can lead others to say, "He's got a mean streak." None of this. Instead, a measured and rational assessment of everything, without haste or hesitation, rendering judgments so calm, fitting, forceful, logical, and harmonious that one could say of him what was once said of Socrates: that he could either enjoy or abstain from those things whose enjoyment weakens and whose abstinence strengthens most men

These things I learned from my father: strength, steadfastness, and moderation on all occasions, a spirit perfectly balanced and indomitable, like the one he showed during the illness which took him away. 

Meditations. Book I. Translation by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Du mußt dein Leben ändern

Listening to Bach's Cantata No. 32, I realized how very near the invisible world is to us, if we do not drive it away. When I heard his cantata for the first time, around 1926, it stirred me so deeply that I foresaw it would be necessary for me to change my whole life, but that I should remain in the world. Impossible to express how great a part Bach has played in my life; it is he, more than any other, who has reconciled me to the idea of dying.
(Julien Green, Journal, May 26, 1953)

Monday, June 11, 2012

A World of Being in Time: Bach's Passacaglia in C minor

To classify Bach's C minor Passacaglia, BWV.582 as one of his most well-known works is optimistic bordering on incredulous. The Brandenburgs certainly fit the description, as do certain arias, choruses, overtures, and even fugues. Aaron Copland undoubtedly did some to popularize this overlooked masterpiece when in What to Listen for in Music he called it "one of the finest examples [of the Passacaglia] in all musical literature" and even added "few compositions will better repay careful listening." [1] Though Copland writes true things I suspect both the form and its shining example in Bach remain obscure.  Like much of Bach's music it is, even by professed aficionados, honored, praised, and put aside.

This is not so surprising, really. The Passacaglia lacks the sprightly character, though not energy, of Bach's other pieces in dance-meters. Though just as grave it lacks the tortured vivacity of the Dorian Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The passacaglia doesn't share the apparent simplicity of Bach's airs and arias nor is there any text to follow as with the choruses. What do we have, then? A dense, serious, rigorous, passacaglia, that is a developing of material over an ostinato ground bass melody. Let us see if it is not more than that description.

BWV.582 ostinato theme
Bach uses this weighty iambic theme, usually in the bass, as the point of departure for 20 variations which Schumann, in reviewing their treatment at the hands of none other than Mendelssohn who was himself performing them for the purpose of funding a memorial over Bach's grave in Leipzig, said to be, "intertwined so ingeniously that one can never cease to be amazed." [2]

Variations I-X

The first ten variations feature increasing contrapuntal and rhythmic complexity. The ostinato figure remains the same in the bass for the first four variations while in the first theme in the treble shifts the weight off of the first beat, in the second the harmony becomes more dramatic, in the third it is adorned with counterpoint, and in the fourth the pace is accelerated with the movement to sixteenth notes. In the fifth the first note of each pair is disguised in an arpeggio and treated in counterpoint in the upper voices. Variations six through eight see increased rhythmic and contrapuntal complexity with the many rising and falling figures until the most striking change yet occurs in variation nine when the bass theme is for the first time equally treated in all of the voices. Finally in variation ten the theme, which now pauses with a rest after each iamb, is paralleled 1:1 against ascending and descending scalar passages.

Variations XI-XV

In the following variations we feel the strongest sense yet of musical departure in the movement of the bass theme. In variation eleven the theme rises to the soprano, in strong relief against the rising and falling scales below it. In twelve it beings to recede from focus above the contrapuntal complexity and from its high point of A moves not in its usual descent to F, but and as if in tragic recognition, falls first stepwise to F and then down the whole octave to A. At last in thirteen it seems to disappear amongst the other material before returning in the upward-stretching figures of fourteen and fifteen.

Variations XVI-XX

The return of the theme to the bass in sixteen would take on the form of a return to normalcy after the motion of variations XI-XV but for the treble chords which sever each of the bass theme's rising figures. In variation seventeen at last the bass theme returns whole and against vast virtuosic runs of thirty-second notes which, up in the treble, create the sense of a vast space and a grand return. Composer Stefan Wolpe described variation eighteen, with its seemingly static material, this way:
Variation 18 is created to show the unyielding repetitions as unyielding repetitions as possible. Here the content stands very still, and because everything is so obstinate and is repeated so stubbornly (a type of stationary music), the theme suddenly seems (precisely for that reason) so full of movement, so fluid, to flow so peacefully. [3]
The theme takes on even more of a flowing and regal quality through the diminution of its crotchets into quavers.

In the final two variations, nineteen and twenty, we have a five-note figure of four thirty-second notes followed by a quaver. First it is treated in imitation and then it is played against itself in alternating intervals (see last three measures below.)
BWV.582 - Variation Twenty
These processes both broaden the sense of space, throw the bass theme into stronger relief, and heighten the tension as we move to the closing chord.


In Bach's Passacaglia in C minor we find nothing short of total mastery. The one bass theme proves to be the genesis of the whole piece, its full form anchoring the upper voices, its elements creating its counterpoints, and its motion up and down the registers creating both a sense of physical space and a dramatic departure and return. The theme is both structure and content. We see that the, "'varied repetitions' are necessary to establish the substance of the theme in various ways" [3] but that ultimately although the theme explored and revealed it is not changed. It is beginning, end, and cause. Bach has created here within the seemingly tight strictures of the passacaglia, to invert Wolpe's own statement, a living architecture. Bach has made not just a world, but a world of being in time.

[1] Copland, Aaron. What to Listen for in Music. 1939. p. 123-124

[2] Hans Theodore David, Arthur Mendel, Christoph Wolff. The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents. 1998. p. 501-503.

[3] Zenck, Martin. The influence of Busoni's 'Bach': Stefan Wolpe's analysis of Bach's Passacaglia BWV 582 and its significance for his music of the 1930s and 1940s. in The Cambridge Companion to Bach. Butt, John. (Ed.) 1997. p. 240-250

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Berlioz's Hair

Hector Berlioz,  1832
The high forehead, precipitously overhanging the deep-set eyes, the great curving hawk-nose, the thin, finely-cut lips, the rather short chin, the enormous shock of light-brown hair against the fantastic wealth of which the barber could do nothing–whoever had seen this head would never forget it. 
–Ferdinand Hiller, Berlioz's classmate 
. . .a head of hair– such a head of hair!
It looked like an enormous umbrella of hair projecting like an awning over the beak of a bird of prey. 
 –Ernest Legouvé, dramatist

The Tax Zone

With apologies to Rod Serling.

Tiberius Quartermain had just returned home from another day of trading Triscuits on the wheat exchange. "What peace!" he thought, pacing through the last steps of daily journey back to his door. Anticipating the liberty of the evening, weary Tiberius hung up his overcoat and unlaced his bluchers. He finished the day's last duty by feeding Bimperl, his wife's Pomeranian, and then for himself he prepared some tea. At last like every other Friday, Tiberius, with his Earl Grey steeping beside him, sank into his lounger to dilute amongst the noble lays of Schwanda, der Dudelsackpfeifer.

Just as Tiberius began to list asleep the telephone rang. Tiberius, who could bear no cacophony of any kind, vaulted from his cozy repose to arrest the clamor. "Hello," he gargled, before clearing his throat.

"Hello is this Teeberoos Quarterman?" the woman asked. Tiberius heard enough of the faint voice to recognize his mangled nomen.

"Yes, this is Tie-bee-ree-uhs Kwor-ter-mayn," Tiberius articulated as he lifted the head off the record.

"Oh good, Mr. Quarterman." the woman replied, "We're so glad we found you and boy are you going to be glad we did."

With Schwanda silenced Tiberius resigned himself to the conversation. "Yes and whom do you represent, madam?" he asked.

"We've called to tell you about our special program which we know you will–"

"Pardon me madam, please," Tiberius interrupted, "but whom do you represent."

"I'm from the government," she replied, "and I'm here to help."

But no one could help Tiberius now, for although he didn't know it, he was in. . . The Tax Zone.