3rd november 2003
. . . from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropped from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos, th' Aegean isle.
from Paradise Lost, Book l
The pain was immense, like an army inside him filling his whole space. When its tide ebbed slightly, he became aware that he was among trees, lying on roots and pine needles. The sea was not far off. There was an iron bench, paint peeling. He very much wanted to sit on it, but at that moment this was not possible.
4th november 2003
in a wilderness of bears
Forget not, when the rest is wholly done
and all her splendours opened one by one
to add that she likes Henry,
for reasons unknown, and fate has bound them fast
one to another in linkages that last
and that are fair to see.
from Dream Song 171
One tends to forget, regarding Berryman, that often the glass is half full rather than spilt.
5th november 2003
breakfast three times a day
The Dutchwoman at work was telling us how after three years in the UK she's finally got used to British food.
7th november 2003
- Doctor, Doctor, I think I'm a moth.
- Hmm, this sounds more psychiatric than medical. There's a psychiatrist right next door, why didn't you go to him?
- You had the light on.
9th november 2003
getting through it
My mother I can recall perfectly. Her face was always red and sore-looking from bending at the fire; she spent her life making tea to pass the time and singing snatches of old songs to pass the meantime.
- Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman
It is thus that Finn spends the day: a third of the day watching the boys: three fifties of boys has he at play in his ballyard; a third of the day drinking sack; and a third of the day in the calm sorcery of chess.
- Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds
12th november 2003
Horrible, isn't it. But I made it anyway. And now I'm posting it anyway.
13th november 2003
the physical impossibility of the weblog entry in the mind of someone living
I sometimes feel that I have nothing to say and I want to communicate this.
- Damien Hirst
18th november 2003
At dusk he came to the long bay that lies in perpetual shadow between the mountains. Deep in the bay some early lights were shining where a group of houses huddled together.
No one was out in the rain.
It was here that the Hemulen, Mymble and Gaffsie lived, and under every roof lived someone who had decided to stay put, people who wanted to stay indoors. Snufkin crept past their backyards, keeping in the shadows, and he was as quiet as he could be because he didn't want to talk to a soul. Big houses and little houses all very close to each other, some were joined together and shared the same gutters and the same dustbins, looked in at each other's windows, and smelt their food. The chimneys and high tables and the drain-pipes, and below the well-worn paths leading from door to door. Snufkin walked quickly and silently and thought: oh all you houses, how I hate you!
- from Tove Jansson, Moominvalley in November
19th november 2003
In the Spring I mentioned saloop in London, now an extinct item, but it's exciting to find out that it's still around in Turkey and Australia (and who knows, even Turkish joints in London? must investigate).
21st november 2003
He [J. Farmer] said that his grandfather, who could remember one hundred and twenty-five years before this, told him that they used to catch wolves in what is now Carter's pasture by the North River (east of Dodge's Brook) in this manner: They piled up logs, cob-house fashion, beginning with a large base, eight or ten feet square, and narrowing successively each tier, so as to make steps for the wolves to the top, say ten feet high. Then they put a dead sheep within. A wolf soon found it in the night, sat down outside and howled till he called his comrades to him, and then they ascended step by step and jumped down within; but when they had done they could not get out again. They always found one of the wolves dead, and supposed that he was punished for betraying the others into this trap.
A man in Brighton, whom he fully believes, told him that he built a bower near a dead horse and placed himself within to shoot crows. One crow took his station as sentinel on the top of the tree, and thirty or forty alighted upon the horse. He fired and killed seven or eight, but the rest, instead of minding him, immediately flew to their sentinel and pecked him to pieces before his eyes.
- Thoreau, Journal November 1855
24th november 2003
another illusion shattered
I had always thought that the word beep, or possibly bleep, was coined to describe the sounds produced by Sputnik 1 (hear here), launched in 1957.
beep: Did you ever hear them talk about auto-horns? There's a toot-toot, and a beep-beep. 1929 E. Wilson, I Thought of Daisy.
bleep: The bleeps of Geiger counters make 'penny stocks' on the country's exchanges palpitate into investors' bonanzas. 1953 N.Y. Herald-Tribune.
And the meaning of sputnik, usually given as 'fellow-traveller'? One who travels, a travelnik.
25th november 2003
27th november 2003
tutt' il due
In Fellini's La Strada, we empathize with Gelsomina because of her naivety, her vulnerability and her sufferings at the hands of the big bad world.