6th july 2005
7th july 2005
More from my desmidcy.
Compare and contrast:
There is a plant like a box-thorn,
With prickles like a dog-rose, they prick one who plucks it.
But if you can possess it
You'll be restored to youth.
- Epic of Gilgamesh
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another country, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon;
And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave.
- Milton, Comus
Clouted shoon is very good; I often think of that line.
9th july 2005
Hacker with bullhorn: 'Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!'
Prospective station wagon buyer: 'I know what you say is true...but...er...I don't know how to maintain a tank!'
Bullhorn: 'You don't know how to maintain a station wagon either!'
Buyer: 'But this dealership has mechanics on staff. If something goes wrong with my station wagon, I can take a day off work, bring it here, and pay them to work on it while I sit in the waiting room for hours, listening to elevator music.'
Bullhorn: 'But if you accept one of our free tanks we will send volunteers to your house to fix it for free while you sleep!'
Buyer: 'Stay away from my house, you freak!'
Buyer: 'Can't you see that everyone is buying station wagons?'
- Neal Stephenson, In the Beginning was the Command Line
This came to mind last week when my station wagon, which these days is updated for free while you sleep, was visited by a particularly crazed fix and refused to start in the morning. I had to rebuild it from the bolted chassis up, and when it was finished the wipers and the CD player and the seatbelts wouldn't work, and the bumper stickers had all peeled off, and then I had to start fixing them too. I'll go on finding coins down the back of the seats for months, I suspect.
17th july 2005
one oozy footstep
In a recent TLS article, Abraham Socher took two whole Kinbotian pages to reveal to us groundlings that the inspiration for the opening of Pale Fire's poem was this short Frost poem:
Of a Winter Evening aka Questioning Faces
The winter owl banked just in time to pass
which was first published in the Saturday Review of Literature in 1958, four years before the publication of Pale Fire. Nabokov has said somewhere that he knew only one Frost poem well, and this has often been assumed to be Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, which Kinbote comically comments on in the book. But it seems that the bird / glass / perspective reversal swing it for the verse above as the precursor to that great opening.
20th july 2005
T- finds Art a puzzling and complex subject . . .
In a school report of positives, this was supposed to strike a negative note or at least damn with faint praise. Instead it just summed up the lives of most of us.
27th july 2005
When the rain comes, and drops hang from windowframes and spiderwebs, and damp greenness crawls under the back door on the back of a rogue snail, then.