Archive for October, 2019

The Ghost Girls

October 31, 2019

The story I told was the one about the Ghost Girls. I never told you about the Ghost Girls? Oh Yeah! So I was on this job and every day on my way to get to the place I had to pass this wood fence along the backs of these condos, maybe four or five condos, nice places, a high wood gate in the fence for each. And there was this one gate in the fence that I noticed was unlatched and a little ajar, and every time I passed it, it creaked. Every single time I passed it it creaked, so I thought, what is it with this?

I passed it during the day when I went to the job and passed it again when I got off at night. (That bus stop is the only one for miles that’ll take you to the — but nevermind.) So anyways this gate in the fence to the backyard of this nice house, this better than middle class condo, always creaked a little, and more and more each day it started to sound to me a little like a voice, like a person’s voice. I could not in a lifetime describe this to you: A little less like a creak and more like a voice. It was still definitely a creaking noise, you know, but then I would say to myself, is that someone talking to me or something? Should I stop?

Then (with the days passing, the job proceeding) I started thinking like I was actually understanding the voice, like I was hearing an actual word in the voice, which was really creeping me out. I mean, it was just a gate, but it was saying things like, Can we come out? Will you let us out? It was creepy as hell, oh yeah! really — creepy! but I just thought I was losing my mind, flashbacks or whatever. Anyway, it didn’t happen like that every day.

Well, one day toward the end of the job, I’d had a few (I mean: a few more than usual know what I mean, pops?) and I was like — this –, and just opened the gate. I thought it was there but it wasn’t so — it. Only it was there, man, oh yeah! it was really there! The circle, the little girls, the little girls who wouldn’t come out! who they hadn’t let out! I mean ever! It was all really there! Oh — !

Then I was running and running and the whole time I felt these claws at my back and I felt this awful cold and I left all my tools, and I felt scared man, I felt really — scared. And I am a pretty tough guy, you know?

Anyway, who — cares. But that is why I jumped when that drain was gurgling earlier. Cause I can hear it in everything now some days. In these — tools, for example, oh yeah, I can hear the ghost girls.

Creation story logically necessitated by prohibition against idols?

October 30, 2019

Deuteronomy 4:19 has got me wondering if the purpose of Genesis 1’s creation myth is not primarily to give an account of the beginning of the world, but a necessary foundation for the tora’s often underscored “real world” prohibition against the worshiping of idols. Deuteronomy 4:19:

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

After all, if you did not think the sun and moon and animals were creations of God, you might be inclined to worship them in their own right.

Wink of Eternity

October 25, 2019

Now looking at the wikipedia entry for Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, where there is a museum devoted to prehistory mentioned in the article I have just read, which was about the discovery of some two hundred footprints made by Neanderthal children, perhaps in a sort of prehistoric preschool, eighty thousand years ago. Before that, read article on super bolts — powerful lightning bolts which generally strike in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean Sea, a thousand times more powerful than regular lightning bolts. Before that, an article on “cleaner shrimp”: how they manage to avoid being eaten by the fish they “clean” by means of an identifying dance. Was reminded I had been moved to look up shrimp. Was reminded how a customer had said she had eaten a crepe filled with shrimp at an event at the Eden Center, and I told her, you just made me recall I’d been meaning to look up the etymology of shrimp. I can’t recall what had initially put the word shrimp in mind as something I would look up. Customer, I recall, hadn’t gotten bubble tea at the Eden Center, which is one of those things you hear of people doing at the Eden Center. (Shrimp seems to come from an Old Norse word meaning thin and was used in English to describe a small person very early on and an especially small person might have even been called a shrimplet, according to my source.) (Old Norse was a Germanic language.) Before that, read an article on “forgetting in mice.” The authors of a recent scientific journal had located a sort of chemical I think it was, or neuron, that arose during sleep which was responsible for the jettisoning of unneeded memories. I was most interested in the early part of the article, which concerned the unusual case of a man who never forgot anything, but would recall random numbers he’d been shown twenty years previously, and my attention drifted as I went on to read further of the specifics of the study. The article said that this man who never forgot had difficulty with abstract concepts and figurative language, which caused me to think of myself as being like him though to a lesser degree, a lesser version of the man who never forgot: for I had a good memory, I’d been told, (good but prone to lapses, good but not immune to embarrassing cases of misremembering) but was not so good with concepts. Montaigne, I recalled, expressed he had a very bad memory and I wondered if that might have been a key or otherwise related to his great genius. Now looking up Caribbean Monk seal. Initially my investigation into the range of pinnipeds (which are seals and related life forms) revealed they were not to be found in the Caribbean, which puzzled me, as I was sure that was where the poem had been written, but then I happened to glance, scrolling through the page, that there once had been this so-called monk seal in the Caribbean, which had been declared extinct in the 1950’s, and perhaps it was a seal of that sort that Hart Crane had been thinking of in the concluding line of his poem Voyager II, which is:

The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

Spindrift is the spray from the tops of waves. Spoondrift is an alternate spelling of spindrift. Now back to the monk seal page to see from the image there if the gaze is “wide”, if the gaze is somehow suggestive of spindrift, but the image available is not ideal for making such determinations and before I check the wider web for an image, I am moved to scroll down still further and read the details of its extinction. “The Caribbean monk seals’ docile nature and lack of flight instinct in the presence of humans made it very easy for anyone to kill them.” (Now I’m sad, feel sad: men clubbing these trusting creatures on the beach — our very selves). On top of that, overfishing of their habitat led to the starvation of those not killed for their blubber. I’m made to recall Melville’s idea that the whale, whose blubber we also of course sought, and seek, could never be brought to extinction because they would just hide beneath the ice caps, an idea which seems especially naive now that ice is melting so markedly at the poles. Now that we are literally making the poles melt along with hunting or otherwise driving so many animals toward extinction. Nothing is safe from us, it occurs to me to say, aside from what are probably our worst enemies, microbes of various sorts; the existence of these latter we indeed actively promote, it occurs to me to say — our overuse of anti-biotics, superbugs, and the like. Google images reveals a surprising number of contemporary images for a seal that’s been extinct, its “wide gaze” maybe suggested by the wide separation between the eyes. It occurs to me too that the ‘gaze’ of the last line might be contrasted with the ‘wink’ of the first:

–And yet this great wink of eternity


Voyages II: an experiment in redemption.

October 25, 2019

Voilà comment alors je voyais la chose : je la vois autrement aujourd’hui. Ce n’est pas quand une vilaine action vient d’être faite qu’elle nous tourmente, c’est quand longtemps après on se la rappelle ; car le souvenir ne s’en éteint point.….


That is how I saw the thing then: today, I see it otherwise. It is not when a villainous action is performed that it torments us, but when long afterward we recall it — for the memory is never extinguished.

Cezanne’s Finances

October 21, 2019

To add to my notes about artists and their finances…. Danchev deals most directly with Cezanne’s in the wonderful epilogue to his biography (360-361), but in general characterizes Cezanne as a man of simple tastes, conservative with money.

Doesn’t seem to have had to work at any point in his life, although he did have to implore friends like Zola for loans occasionally — was supported through substantial allowance from his wealthy father, then an inheritance.

(Father began in hat trade, but made his fortune banking. Hats relied on rabbit farms — he had started his financial career by loaning money to rabbit farmers. Something like this.)

This isn’t made explicit, but real money from paintings seems to have come only near the end.

…Cezanne only really felt financially free after he’d received his inheritance, according to Danchev –in his 40s. Meanwhile his son sold all the paintings he came to inherit for well below what they were worth.

October 14, 2019

« Quand j’aurai inspiré le dégoût et l’horreur universels, j’aurai conquis la solitude. »

When I have inspired universal disgust and horror, I will have conquered solitude.

October 11, 2019

… odd that in both the relatively close together (Numbers 20 & 22) stories of Moses and Aaron at the rock at Meribah, and of Balaam and his ass, God is found punishing servants who have apparently properly followed his commands.