I crawled out of a spider hole into a fucked up kind of youth. My parents were fucked up and my school was kind of fucked up and my left eye ticked and my ankle hurt.
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I felt my soul withering into a tiny shrunken system but I wore a pin that said fuck the system and I drilled the bone out till I deadlifted unimaginable weight. The final lines, then, come as a parody of the breathless enchantment with the mundane and trivial that makes up so much mainstream and MFA lyric poetry. So to say that this poem plays on the contemporary lyric is not to say that Buck rejects that form so much as to observe that she doubles-down on it, opens it up, and recharges it.
But like any reanimated being — corpse, head, language, dead pet — what is brought back is changed, changed utterly. And also the person whipping the dead cat. And the whip. Like Gummo , the world of Portrait of Doom is a world of contradiction, disgust, and naive fascination. The deeper into this world you go, the more sinister it becomes. Though not traditionally narrative, the poems follow an arc as they slouch through the developmental wastelands of maturation, illuminating a coming-into-self-hood in a world sick and brutal to its very core, and entered into via a language both exhausted and hollowed out but, at the same time, crackling with the febrile energy of total rot.
On my face sits a stain: representative CEO child. All move me along to the liberty of horrors. I had to work very much and very hard. The sweat was running down my skin, my hand was shaken by the extremely decaying body. It all builds up to a final stanza, in which the speaker finds some sort of perverse freedom within confinement:. I was dogged like a dog and handed myself over to the only digger that helped me in the shimmering shallows I rubbed and rubbed. It worked! Then, come, join us, join the rebellion! Before I decide what to do with my life, I must first learn to be alive.
Even when these poems are at their most sinister, there is still something strangely utopic embedded within them. I ate through your flesh and wore your dried skin like a hood. The most hated railroad man in the country was Collis P.
Huntington — , the president of the Southern Pacific Railroad who dominated California's economy and politics. One textbook argues: "Huntington came to symbolize the greed and corruption of late-nineteenth-century business. Business rivals and political reformers accused him of every conceivable evil. Journalists and cartoonists made their reputations by pillorying him Historians have cast Huntington as the state's most despicable villain.
The growth of railroads from s to s made commercial farming much more feasible and profitable.
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Millions of acres were opened to settlement once the railroad was nearby, and provided a long-distance outlet for wheat, cattle and hogs that reached all the way to Europe. Shipping live animals was slow and expensive. It was more efficient to slaughter them in major packing centers such as Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati, and then ship dressed meat out in refrigerated freight cars.
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The cars were cooled by slabs of ice that had been harvested from the northern lakes in wintertime, and stored for summer and fall usage. Chicago, the main railroad center, benefited enormously, with Kansas City a distant second. Historian William Cronon concludes:. During the s and s, the U. The corporation became the dominant form of business organization, and a scientific management revolution transformed business operations. By the beginning of the 20th century, gross domestic product and industrial production in the United States led the world.
Kennedy reports that "U. Europe, especially Britain, remained the financial center of the world until , yet the United States' growth caused foreigners to ask, as British author W. Stead wrote in , "What is the secret of American success? Wealthy industrialists and financiers such as John D.
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Rogers , J. Morgan , Leland Stanford , Meyer Guggenheim , Jacob Schiff , Charles Crocker , Cornelius Vanderbilt would sometimes be labeled " robber barons " by their critics, who argue their fortunes were made at the expense of the working class , by chicanery and a betrayal of democracy. Private money endowed thousands of colleges, hospitals, museums, academies, schools, opera houses, public libraries, and charities.
Nevertheless, many business leaders were influenced by Herbert Spencer's theory of Social Darwinism , which justified laissez-faire capitalism, competition and social stratification. This emerging industrial economy quickly expanded to meet the new market demands. From to , the U. The economy repeated this period of growth in the s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3. Australian historian Peter Shergold found that the standard of living for industrial workers was higher than in Europe. He compared wages and the standard of living in Pittsburgh with Birmingham, England, one of the richest industrial cities of Europe.
According to Shergold the American advantage grew over time from to , and the perceived higher American wage led to a heavy steady flow of skilled workers from Britain to industrial America.
Workers had to put in roughly 60 hours a week to earn this much. Wage labor was widely condemned as 'wage slavery' in the working class press, and labor leaders almost always used the phrase in their speeches. The unequal distribution of wealth remained high during this period. King , were concerned that the United States was becoming increasingly in-egalitarian to the point of becoming like old Europe, and "further and further away from its original pioneering ideal.
There was a significant human cost attached to this period of economic growth,  as American industry had the highest rate of accidents in the world. Craft-oriented labor unions, such as carpenters, printers, shoemakers and cigar makers, grew steadily in the industrial cities after These unions used frequent short strikes as a method to attain control over the labor market, and fight off competing unions.
The railroads had their own separate unions. The strike and associated riots lasted 45 days and resulted in the deaths of several hundred participants no police or soldiers were killed , several hundred more injuries, and millions in damages to railroad property. Hayes intervened with federal troops.
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Starting in the mids a new group, the Knights of Labor , grew rapidly. Too rapidly, for it spun out of control and failed to handle the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of The Knights avoided violence, but their reputation collapsed in the wake of the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago in , when anarchists allegedly bombed the policemen dispersing a meeting. Seven anarchists went on trial; four were hanged even though no evidence directly linked them to the bombing. By , membership had plummeted to fewer than ,, then faded away. Strikes organized by labor unions became routine events by the s as the gap between the rich and the poor widened.
By far the largest number were in the building trades, followed far behind by coal miners. The main goal was control of working conditions and settling which rival union was in control. Most were of very short duration. In times of depression strikes were more violent but less successful, because the company was losing money anyway.
They were successful in times of prosperity when the company was losing profits and wanted to settle quickly. The largest and most dramatic strike was the Pullman Strike , a coordinated effort to shut down the national railroad system. Debs and was not supported by the established brotherhoods. The union defied federal court orders to stop blocking the mail trains, so President Cleveland used the U. Army to get the trains moving again.
The ARU vanished and the traditional railroad brotherhoods survived, but avoided strikes. The AFL was a coalition of unions, each based on strong local chapters; the AFL coordinated their work in cities and prevented jurisdictional battles. Gompers repudiated socialism and abandoned the violent nature of the earlier unions. The AFL worked to control the local labor market, thereby empowering its locals to obtain higher wages and more control over hiring.
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