2nd november 2005

spirit of jem

claret n. (2)
Pugilistic slang. Blood.

1604 Dekker 1st Pt. Honest Wh. i. vii, Wks. 1873 II. 45 This should be a Coronation day: for my head runs Claret lustily. 1652 Benlowes Theoph. iii. lxviii. War hath our luke-warm Claret broacht with Spears. 1821 Byron Lett. 12 Dec., Besides losing some claret on the spot, [he] bruised himself a good deal. 1848 Thackeray Van. Fair lvi. 473 His fine shirt frill dabbled with the claret drawn from his own little nose.

2005  Overheard at the swimming pool:

' She jus' smacked her lip on the railing, and there was all claret pourin' everywhere.'

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7th november 2005

Several times a day just now I think of this and inwardly chortle.

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18th november 2005

A hard frost in the night, and this morning on the path through the trees much rustling. At first I took it to be blackbirds ferreting in the brambles, or a troop of dogs in the bushes, but then I looked up and saw that it was a leaf-fall: all the trees were solemnly and silently shedding their leaves, which were landing on the icy grass and undergrowth with much crepitation. The freeze and/or the thaw must make them drop more easily.
If you're a bit depressive for any reason, winter can make you come over all Delmore Schwartz:

That time of year you may in me behold
When Christmas trees are blazing on the walk,
Raging against stale snow and cold
And low skies bundled with wash, deadwhite as chalk.

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21st november 2005

near Itokawa


The ion-engine spacecraft Hakabusa's shadow cast on the asteroid Itokawa.
The hopping drone Minerva which it released last week to collect surface samples hasn't been heard from.  Iain Banks fans can well imagine the waspish exchanges between the two craft . . .

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22nd november 2005

Make your own here.

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24th november 2005

ancora tutt' il due

Reading the famous chowder section in Moby-Dick:

Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishy food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's clam and cod announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment. Stepping to the kitchen door, I uttered the word "cod" with great emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few moments the savory steam came forth again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine cod-chowder was placed before us.
We resumed business . . .

Reminded me of something I wrote a while back about La Strada . . .

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28th november 2005

Diaries, biographies, autobiographies . . . they make one realize how egregiously stolid, unenterprising, faint-hearted and insensitive one is. One neglected to sleep with one's mother or father, one omitted to seduce one's psychoanalyst (one omitted to acquire a psychoanalyst), one failed to engage in love-triangles or quadrangles with famous figures (perhaps one knew no famous figures), one shirked having an abortion in a backstreet, one never came into money suddenly, one never found oneself literally penniless (only metaphorically). Can one belong to the same species, one asks oneself. One doesn't even keep a diary.

- D.J. Enright

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30th november 2005

You can learn a lot from Mr B. It's funny to have him as a companion. He wears a monk's robe and drinks endless cups of coffee. Too much sleep clogs up his mind. One of his teeth falls out and he says, "What does this mean?" He questions everything. His clothes catch fire on a candle. He wonders if fire is a good sign. Balzac is hilarious.

- Bob Dylan

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« October 2005 | home | December 2005 »

The certainties return:
These cushions, a pipe,
And the sweet Basran tea
Stewed with limes.

- Robert Minhinnick

drawing by John Minton