Archive for June, 2018

June 30, 2018

tourelle de char, Les tobrouks: “Ces petits bunkers individuels, appelés Ringstand en allemand, c’est-à-dire abri/emplacement circulaire, prennent le nom de tobrouk, Tobruk en allemand, après le siège de Tobrouk par Rommel”


June 29, 2018

“Moreover, the simplest answer to such an ontological demonstration is the following: ‘All depends on whence you have your concept; if it is drawn from experience, well and good, for its object exists and needs no further proof; on the other hand, if it is hatched out of your own sinciput, then all its predicates are of no avail; it is just a phantom of your brain.” (Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Fourfold Root of The Principle of Sufficient Reason. Payne translation.)

Sinciput: the forehead.

Ode to a Grecian Urn

June 28, 2018

Fresh from reading Cleanth Brooks’ essay on Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn [“Keats’s Sylvan Historian, 164-66], where it’s wondered if the last two lines feel like an authentic part of the poem or instead have a rather tacked-on, abruptly “sententious” feeling.

My own thought is that, if these lines do feel somewhat forced, it is owing to the rhythmic and assonant difficulties of the stanza rather than to philosophical or tonal departures — the rampant off-rhyming of say’st and waste, of pastoral and all; the enjambment of “that is all/ Ye know on earth”; and a feeling of crampedness in the third to last line; none of these being individually a problem, somewhat work against each other; and make this stanza seem to me –sonically, rhythmically– not quite a hard landing for the poem as a whole.
[Poem.] Final stanza:

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
….Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
….Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
….When old age shall this generation waste,
……Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
….Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
……Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

June 26, 2018

Proposition, that psychologically and socially cellphones satisfy the same needs as cigarettes, and decrease rather than increase people’s ability to communicate.

(How could an advance in communication technology decrease people’s ability to communicate? Maybe through over-communication and its resultant confusion. Or by communication being used more to amuse than inform.)

(Perhaps: any sort of advance in the ability to do, without a concomitant maintenance of something like “wisdom”, or common sense, about doing, results in an actual decrease of things productively done.)

June 25, 2018

That’s been a key lesson I’ve learned working as a reporter and political observer in Washington: No one can carry out complicated plans. All parties and groups are fractious and bumbling. But everyone always thinks everyone else is efficiently and ruthlessly implementing long-term schemes.Ezra Klein


A typical performance of the Fourth lasts about an hour, making it one of Mahler’s shorter symphonies. The performing forces are also small by Mahler’s usual standard. These features have made it the most frequently performed Mahler symphony, though in recent years the First has gained ground.. .Symphony No. 4 (Mahler)

THULE / Strabo 2.4.1

June 23, 2018

[2.4.1] [full passage]

προσιστορήσαντος δὲ καὶ τὰ περὶ τῆς Θούλης καὶ τῶν τόπων ἐκείνων, ἐν οἷς οὔτε γῆ καθ᾽ αὑτὴν ὑπῆρχεν ἔτι οὔτε θάλαττα οὔτ᾽ ἀήρ, ἀλλὰ σύγκριμά τι ἐκ τούτων πλεύμονι θαλαττίῳ ἐοικός, ἐν ᾧ φησι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλατταν αἰωρεῖσθαι καὶ τὰ σύμπαντα, καὶ τοῦτον ὡς ἂν δεσμὸν εἶναι τῶν ὅλων, μήτε πορευτὸν μήτε πλωτὸν ὑπάρχοντα: τὸ μὲν οὖν τῷ πλεύμονι ἐοικὸς αὐτὸς ἑωρακέναι, τἆλλα δὲ λέγειν ἐξ ἀκοῆς.

…. and added his story about Thule and about those regions in which there was no longer either land properly so‑called, or sea, or air, but a kind of substance concreted from all these elements, resembling a sea-lungs — a thing in which, he says, the earth, the sea, and all the elements are held in suspension; and this is a sort of bond to hold all together, which you can neither walk nor sail upon. Now, as for this thing that resembles the sea-lungs, he says that he saw it himself, but that all the rest he tells from hearsay….

Writers’ Habits of Spending

June 22, 2018

Having read a number of writer’s biographies over the years, I’ve often observed that writers of the first rank appear to have self-inflicted financial difficulties — difficulties that seem to go beyond the fact that literature doesn’t pay.

Melville, Joyce, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, and Balzac leap at once to mind, not merely as being poor managers of their money, but, in some cases, as being perhaps proud squanderers of it. Even Proust, who inherited a great deal, seemed bent on spending beyond his means.

This is deserving of psychological study. Is it just normal human behavior, amplified by these legendary figures? Or is there a certain excessiveness of temperament required of an artist, which others ought prudently to steer from? Or is it a result of poverty and despair — a sense for the total irrelevance of their craft to most people? Or is it taken as a moral to behave recklessly with money, the better to show that it is, actually, trivial? … (And there is a broader question at hand, maybe, of whether being prudent with money should be considered a failing or a success.)

From La Peau de Chagrin — :

A debt is a feat of the imaginative that they cannot appreciate. A borrower is often carried away and over-mastered by generous impulses; nothing great, nothing magnanimous can move or dominate those who live for money, and recognize nothing but money. I myself held money in horror.” (Ellen Marriage translation)

Une detter est un oeuvre d’imagination qu’ils ne comprennent pas. Des élans de l’âme entraînent, subjuguent souvent un emprunteur, tandis que riend de grand ne subjugue, rien de généreux ne guide ceux qui vivent dans l’argent et ne connaissent que l’argent. J’avais horreur de l’argent.

[Just before this, the narrator laments the “morality de Barême”. François Barrême is considered a founder of la comptabilité — modern accounting. (French Wiki).]

This attitude (of which there are many quotable instances) can also be found in Wilde’s De Profundis

Philistinism was the note of the age and community in which [Christ] lived. In their heavy inaccessibility to ideas, their dull respectability, their tedious orthodoxy, their worship of vulgar success, their entire preoccupation with the gross materialistic side of life, and their ridiculous estimate of themselves and their importance, the Jews of Jerusalem in Christ’s day were the exact counterpart of the British Philistine of our own. Christ mocked at the ‘whited sepulchre’ of respectability, and fixed that phrase for ever. He treated worldly success as a thing absolutely to be despised. He saw nothing in it at all. He looked on wealth as an encumbrance to a man. He would not hear of life being sacrificed to any system of thought or morals.

[Perhaps here is a good place to note that (1) this post is based on my memory of books in some cases read a while ago, and probably imperfect in themselves, and therefore, though not intended to be deceitful, not entirely to be trusted; and (2) this sample lacks diversity. I don’t believe I’ve read a biography of a woman aside from the recent Gooch one on O’Conner — and haven’t read one on a minority aside that of Stephen Douglass on himself, and I can’t recall what he said, if anything, in that book, about how he dealt with money.]

… Proust, Balzac had definitely a taste for luxury; the former was known also for his prodigious tipping and generous gifts. I recall Ellman describing Joyce’s facility in sending away disappointed creditors, but I think he too (though much, much poorer than Proust) spent more than was called for and was a good tipper. I recall Joseph Blotner, I think it was, saying that when Faulkner received self-addressed stamped envelopes within fan letters, he neglected the letters but kept the stamps for his personal use. (This reminds somewhat of his character, Flem Snopes, who was so cheap that in lieu of using actual chewing tobacco he began just moving his jaw.) There is also Panurge’s famous speech in Gargantua in praise of debt, somehow related to all this: the morality of not saving, the morality of giving all, like the poor woman of the New Testament who gives most, since she gives everything… And I was surprised in the Gooch biography of Flannery O’Connor to hear her say in a letter she was “all for Medicaid” I think the quote was, as she faced high, uninsured medical bills on account of her lupus. (“Surprised” — just erroneously thinking of her as having existed in a world apart from anything like Medicaid.) It was also dropped that she received income from a rental property…. Whitman, although receiving help from friends and family, seems to have been quite self-sustaining, mainly but not entirely through newspaper work, and bought a house, and died with money in the bank. Samuel Johnson was careful, as well as charitable, with money (eventually with a pension from the crown), and never had much. Hart Crane, like Vincent Van Gogh, was always reduced to asking relatives for aid [a common thread between these two, maybe, of incessant self-abasement before relatives and others/ begging for money] but also won a Guggenheim scholarship and had a patron in Otto Kahn. I believe O’Conner, too, got aid from a foundation at one point (was her term at Yaddo subsidized?), and Faulkner of course won the Nobel prize and its award later in his career. (I wish, incidentally, that the Nobel Prize people would consider the economic benefit of the money they give to recipients more than the political/ cultural comment they may make.) The most recent literary biography I’ve read was Jocelyn Baines’ of Joseph Conrad, in which Conrad is portrayed as often requesting money, not making much from his work, but not a penny pincher: going on the occasional vacation and being a generous host. Below I give a quote of Baines’ describing how Conrad, in a letter, figures he’d be in a pretty good financial position if only his books fetched reasonable prices, which reminds me of something that can’t be left unsaid here: that all these writers were, whatever their assets as money managers might be, drastically underpaid for their artistic work. And I say this leaving aside any of that amorphous cultural benefit their writing gives, and just thinking of the economic benefit it’s created. How many copies of Ulysses and Nostromo have been sold after the death of Joyce and Conrad? How many careers have been made studying and writing and teaching about those books? These people, responsible for making tens and hundreds of millions of economic activity, let’s say, had to spend an unseemly amount of time harassing their relatives for scraps. The Conrad quote:

In the same letter he looked back on his financial achievement during the twelve years of his writing career. He worked out that he had written eleven novels (volumes, to be precise) and had lived at an average rate of 650 pounds a year. If, he said, each book had brought him in 1000 pounds he would have had 5000 pounds in hand, but as it was he owed [his publisher] 1,572 pounds and had other debts well.”

(I’ve tried without success to get a plausible figure for the value of 650 pounds in the early twentieth century. What I’ve come up with seems way too much relative to how Conrad lived.)

June 21, 2018

Stripes for the Solstice. . . Berardelli added: “The message is simple: humans have become a force of nature. Our influence on the climate matches or exceeds the impact of natural variations. It’s real. It’s us. It’s serious. And while the public opinion ship has veered in a favorable direction, we need an abrupt pivot, right now, to avoid the worst impacts of the iceberg called climate change.”

June 19, 2018

|…………………..Pensacola Mountains
\inner german borderSuperblockGSA
Cryovolcanoboonie ….hatcondonation
Cryovolcanoboonie ….hatcondonation
\iinner german borderSuperblockGSA
|…………………..Pensacola Mountains
The last doge was Ludovico Manin,
who abdicated in 1797, when
Venice passed under
the power of

June 16, 2018

deathpproof… structurally this reminded me of To the Lighthouse as described by Woolf (“two big rooms connected by a narrow passage” I think she wrote) which is this movie also, with the “narrow passage” being the scene of the sheriff in the hospital…

woman whose foot is licked by Mike later plants foot on Mike’s face, I think, a reverse of it… she is recovering from a night out (maybe the sort of night out the four/ five women in the first half perhaps experienced) — kicked up feet– no resolution to the character left with the man who loans out his car–

first half, women as portrayed in movies, vs. second half’s women as makers of movies[?] victims vs. heros — what does the idea of “stunts” add / stunt men and women — the billboards– Lake Lyndon B. Johnson — parallel conversations about not going all the way with boys– dodge challengerlebanon, tenn

the curious time of the movie: because it’s been shot like a movie in the sixties/ seventies one imagines the movie itself (the subject of movie) occurs in that era too –and there’s not much to dissuade one from thinking that– so that one is genuinely shocked to see something like a cell phone, or the mention of red bull …

Mentions of clothing in hamlet

June 14, 2018

My original thought, based on Parolles (who is described as having been “all clothes”) was of this order: “our unspoken thought is like a body, which we have little control over in the present, while our expressed thought is like our clothes, which we can much more easily adjust in a timely way” and I wanted to make a site like Plants, investigating various descriptions of attire and rooms (which seemed to me similar to attire) which however did not work out. This is a remnant of that effort.

Armor: [1.1.59-63]; [3.3.7-15]. “Beaver“: [1.2.42-46]. Brooch: [4.7.90-94]. Buttons: [2.2.224-231] (see also “general references”). Cap: Fortune’s cap [2.2.224-231]; [4.5.99-110]; cap of youth [4.7.72-81]. Chopine: [2.2.422-427]. Cloak: [1.2.76-86]. “Clouts“: swaddling clouts [2.2.380-385]; clout [2.2.505-509]; clothe (v.) [3.2.56-58]; “clo’es” [4.5.42-54]; “clothes” [4.7.172-183]. Crown: [1.5.35-41], [1.5.75-80]; “crowns”, the currency [2.2.65-76];stage direction [3.2.133]; [3.3.51-56];[3.4.90-99]; [4.5.203-212]; crownlet [4.7.172-183]; “crowner” for “coroner” [5.1.1-22]; [5.2.265-272]. Diadem: [2.2.505-509]. Doublet: [2.1.74-81]. Frock: frock of custom [3.4.168-177]. Garter: ungartered [2.1.74-81]. Habit: [3.4.136-142]. Hat: [2.1.74-81]; cockle hat [4.5.23-36]; bonnet, hat [5.2.93-105]; “shell on his head” [5.2.184-185]. Livery: nature’s Livery [1.4.127-132]; livery of custom [3.4.168-177]; [4.7.72-81]. Mantle: [1.1.165-167]. Motley: “shreds and patches” [3.4.90-99]. Nightgown: [3.4.90-99]. Periwig: [3.2.1-14]. Pockets: [3.4.90-99]. Purse: [1.3.68-74]; cutpurse [3.4.90-99]. [5.2.47-53]; [5.2.127-132]. Ring: [3.2.147-152]. Robe: [2.2.505-509]. Sables: [3.2.123-133]; [4.7.72-81]. Sea-gown: [5.2.12-17]. Skirt: (verb) [1.1.95-100]. Shirt: [2.1.74-81]. Shoes: [1.2.147-157];[2.2.224-231]; [3.2.273-278]; “sandle shoon” [4.5.23-36]. Staff: [4.5.23-36]. Stocking: [2.1.74-81]. Suit: of solemn black/ of woe [1.2.76-86]; “of sables” [3.2.123-133] (see “general references”).

General References: Sheeted dead [1.1.112-116]; Suit (petition) [1.2.42-46]; trappings [1.2.76-86]; “buttons” [1.3.36-44]; “apparel oft proclaims the man” [1.3.68-74]; Suit (petition) [1.3.127-132]; sewing [2.1.74-81]; garb [2.2.160-167]; “suit” (be appropriate to) [2.2.549-558]; “suit” (be appropriate to) [3.2.16-24]; clothe (v.) [3.2.56-58]; devil wearing black [3.2.123-133]; shroud [4.5.34-36]; “weeds” [4.7.72-81]; garments [4.7.172-183]; shrouding sheet [5.1.172-183]; scarf (v.) [5.2.12-17]; hangers, carriages, girdles [5.2.146-162].