Archive for September, 2020

September 30, 2020

Voltaire to Diderot, 11 juin 1749.

je place ce témoignage de votre estime autant au-dessus des marques de la faveur des grands que les grands sont au-dessous de vous… *

“I place this testament of your esteem as high above the marks of favor of the great as the great are far beneath you.”

Dewpoint with pyracantha potentially reached

September 29, 2020

Gal running with hands below waist, palms parallel to ground, an “Egyptian” or “ready for anything” posture… Gal running with hands at chest-level, palms out, a “please don’t” posture, running on balls of feet… Old gal hawking with impressive unselfconsciousness, reaching so deep in the lung that, as I reflect on it moments later, I am myself made to choke and cough.

How writing sometime purges, other times reinforces memories. Thus I’ve never had a stronger sense of pyracantha than after having, the other day, written the word down for the first time (as if perhaps a dew point had been reached, with the “dew” being conscious memory); thus, it used to be I would think of the line of An Octopus about chipmunks whenever I saw chipmunks, but after having written of always having that memory on seeing that animal, which I very frequently do, now I hardly do. (Though maybe, on having written this, that connection will be restored.)

September 28, 2020

Courageous death of Joachim Murat (but see also La Rochfoucalt on courageous deaths) … militaristic association of avant-garde — wonder if artists adopting this language are familiar with its distinctly Napoleonic overtones.

September 27, 2020

Finnegans Wake — Tip.

September 26, 2020

“The supreme virtue here is humility, for the humble are they that move about the world with the love of the real in their hearts.” (W. Stevens, quoted at Isola 2013)

September 25, 2020

Pyracantha. Trying to identify bushes outside storefront after one customer accidentally called them the “bu–ildings… those apartments there” — because of how the sparrows inhabit them. Horticultural customer suggested pyracantha, but I don’t think ours are berry-producing.

September 24, 2020

If you sneeze while you have the hiccups, the hiccups will go away. –Hippocrates (roughly)

δύσελπις — ἐλπὶς

September 23, 2020

Libation Bearers, 410-417 (English):

πέπαλται δαὖτὲ μοι φίλον κέαρ
τόνδε κλύουσαν οἶκτον
καὶ τότε μὲν δύσελπις,
σπλάγχνα δέ μοι κελαινοῦ-
πρὸς ἔπος κλυούσᾳ.
ὅταν δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀλκῆς ἐπάρῃ μ᾽
ἐλπὶς, ἀπέστασεν ἄχος
προσφανεῖσά μοι καλῶς.

[chorus] But again my heart throbs as I hear this pitiful lament. At once I am devoid of hope and my viscera are darkened at the words I hear. But when hope once again lifts and strengthens me, it puts away my distress and dawns brightly on me.

In which I find a dirty shirt after having started the machine already

September 21, 2020

Ha, just as I suspected, I said, having jerked up the blanket and already begun to fold it.

Oh? I said, and what did you suspect? Are you telling me you suspected you’d find a shirt under the blanket (for I had seen the same thing myself when I jerked up the blanket to fold it: a dirty shirt).

You have me there, I said, for truthfully I at no point suspected I might find a shirt under the blanket on this couch.

So why would you even say such a thing, I said.

I don’t know, I said. I guess I suspected that I would find some article of dirty clothing to put in the washing machine after I’d already started the cycle — but I didn’t necessarily suspect that that something would be a shirt, or that that shirt would be found under this blanket when I lifted it up.

Do you mean suspect or expect, I said? I don’t know, I said.

I guess that makes sense I said. So what do we do with the shirt after we’ve already started the machine?

It wasn’t that long ago that we started the cycle, I said. We could just go up and put the shirt in, though that seems a long way I up for a single shirt. The alternative is we could put it in our dirty laundry bag, I said: make this the first dirty item of the new week rather than the last dirty item of the old week. Alright let’s do that, I said. Alright, now what did we do with the laundry bag, I said? I thought it was here, I said, but it isn’t. It must be upstairs with the laundry I said: remember how we held the bag upside down and watched the clothes fall into the washer; then we included the detergent in the mix; then we started the machine in its cycle; then we came back down the stairs having totally forgotten to bring the bag, now empty, with us. (I remember, I said. I remember.)

So the choice, I said, (do you mean the choices? I said. You may mean the options I said) are as follows: (i) return upstairs and put the dirty shirt into the already started washer cycle, bringing down the empty laundry bag; (ii) return upstairs and bring down the laundry bag and put the dirty shirt into it, making it “the first dirty item of the new week”; (iii) throw the dirty shirt onto floor in the knowledge that eventually it will get where it must; (iv) throw the dirty shirt on the floor for now but, when transferring the clothes from the washer to the drier, take the occasion to bring down the laundry bag, then put the dirty shirt in it.

… I don’t know what it was exactly that made me suddenly weigh the most the option I favored least, but in any case found myself trudging up the steps with a single dirty shirt: here I was bringing the whole of my own body weight up the steps for the sake of bringing this inconsequential weight of a single dirty shirt up the steps, which weighed less even perhaps than the finger I used to hold it up, weighed about as much as the clean shirt I was wearing and was already carrying up without even thinking — and would be carrying down again without thinking. Now the thing that weighed the most hefted up the shirt that weighed much less, and what sense did any of that make, I said.

Luke, 18.4-5

September 20, 2020

και ουκ ηθελεν επι χρονον. μετα δε ταυτα ειπεν εν εαυτω, Ει και τον θεον ου φοβουμαι ουδε ανθρωπον εντρεπομαι, δια γε το παρεχειν μοι κοπον την Χηραν ταυτην εκδικησω αυτην, ινα μη εις τελος ερχομενη υπωπιαζη με.

εντρεπω: in pass., respect, regard;παρεχω: w/κοπος “trouble”, cause, bring about, do, grant, offer, present; κοπος: work, hardwork, trouble, hardship; εκδικεω: avenge, punish, help (someone) get justice; υπωπιαζω: wear out, treat with severity or keep under control. Χηρα -ας: widow.

And he would not for a time. But after these things he said in himself, If even I do not fear God, nor have respect for men; [therefore] I will help this same widow who troubles me get justice, that she will not wear me out in the end when she comes.

King James: [4] And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; [5] Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Full passage.

September 18, 2020

Wonder, if these proposed punctuation marks were prototypical emojis?… Was traditional punctuation inadequate or was it about to get extremely silly?