Archive for February, 2014

February 28, 2014

The word “silhouette” derives from the name of Étienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who, in 1759, was forced by France’s credit crisis during the Seven Years War to impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy. Because of de Silhouette’s austere economies, his name became synonymous with anything done or made cheaply and so with these outline portraits. Prior to the advent of photography, silhouette profiles cut from black card were the cheapest way of recording a person’s appearance…. silhouette

February 27, 2014

In later tellings he eventually turned into a cicada, eternally living, but begging for deathTithonus

February 26, 2014

By the late 1920s, Garnett was frail, white-haired, and half-blind. She retired from translating after the publication in 1934 of Three Plays by Turgenev. After her husband’s death in 1937, she became quite reclusive. She developed a heart condition, with attendant breathlessness, and in her last years had to walk with crutches…. Constance Garnett

Iliad 19, 101-102

February 25, 2014

κέκλυτέ μευ πάντές τε θεοὶ πᾶσαί τε θέαιναι,
ὄφρ᾽ εἴπω τά με θυμὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσιν ἀνώγει.


February 24, 2014

Sir Abu Nu’ayr is almost perfectly round at a diameter of four kilometers, with a one kilometer long extension at its southeast end, making the shape of the whole island appear as a drop… Sir Abu Nu’ayr

Iliad 19 112-113

February 23, 2014


’ ὣς ἔφατο: Ζεὺς δ᾽ οὔ τι δολοφροσύνην ἐνόησεν,
ἀλλ᾽ ὄμοσεν μέγαν ὅρκον, ἔπειτα δὲ πολλὸν ἀάσθη.



February 22, 2014

The driving instructor tells Borat he “must not hit the children”; tells Borat he can’t drink when he’s driving because “it’s against the law”; and that he can’t yell out the windows because then they will throw them “both in jail.” He likes Borat, he says, because he’s a nice young man. “Yes,” he tells Borat, “you are my friend.”

The large young black man laughs when he’s compared to Michael Jackson. The older Jewish lady is inexpressibly kindly when she offers Borat food (Borat is terrified by Jews. “Why,” he says, “do you have picture of Jew?”) The driving instructor tells Borat that women have sex with those whom they choose to; it’s called “consent”. “That’s bad for me,” says Borat.

What does Borat learn about love? That there must be forgiveness for those we love (the scene at the church); that our ideas about what love should be fall short of the thing itself (his disappointed love in the celebrity Pamela Anderson); that people should be equal partners in love. In general, he encounters bigotry and resistance to love on his trip.

February 20, 2014

tarsus/ metatarsus [image]; Chiefly About War Matters [Hawthorne/ 1862] –tantivy towers— Humphrey Bogart in Sahara / Hurt So Bad /

φυσιγγοομαι: “to be excited by eating garlic” (φυσιγξ = garlic).
overslaugh overslaugh, caster, Marginal sea

February 18, 2014

By the Edwardian standards of the rationally-arrived-at code of values and stable career, young Traverse here was an obviously drifting wreck without much hope of ever being straightened out. What on earth sort of family produced wastrels like this? As long as he was this far from the orbit of an ordinary life, he might as well be pressed into service for a mission… (Against the Day)

February 17, 2014

The spelling of the name Ouagadougou is derived from the French orthography common in former French African coloniesOuagadougou

a mythological island said to be the home of the sorceress Circe… aeaea


February 15, 2014

William Gaddis, The Recognitions, pp.861:

Yet in a way it was something of this order that he awaited, something less threatening, less sectarian that is, for he could hardly admit to having come, like a vulgar Greek, seeking a sign: no, it was rather some vague, exotic manifestation of some equally vague and exotic Presence, a mystery of euhemeristic proportions and, brought forth in his own prose, amenable to reason.


Euhemerism is defined in modern academic literature as the theory that myths are distorted accounts of real historical events.