Archive for January, 2022

January 17, 2022


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January 16, 2022

Looking up at the clouds tried to have an idea of them, but the only Idea I had was of the clouds of the previous day: upside down mossbed. Which I hadn’t thought to call them then. All cirrus clouds in blue skies evoke plains, beaches, deserts… (Not necessarily upside down because you seem to see them from within an airplane.)

Had read Appolonaire the previous night, French with English facing. Description of the flares overheard, which I can’t recall the French word for. He had choice and beautiful words for them, which one could imagine over trenches.

January 14, 2022

Style of James With respect to Joyce?— “it is a lofty language, vulgarity excised, compared to a scientific language, vulgarity enlarged.”

…With respect to Proust?, “James’ is a social rather than personal style. It is that of educated refined persons, sorting each other out, rather than that of the solitary genius, sorting out himself.” (Sense that Proust, unlike James, thought the refined don’t know.)

January 13, 2022

“An impressive growth of invasive plants I espy; and now this area which was unique because I associated it with a painter, Fragonard, I now suddenly associated with a completely different painter, though of the same country, France, Henri Rousseau. Aha!”

January 12, 2022

Cold swampy day of the sort I associate with Hyde Park (supposed to have snowed, it somewhat rained, a damp.)

January 11, 2022

Ambulance, as it passes you, bleats in a regular fashion, but further down, the siren echoing, it begins to sound out of time with itself.

January 11, 2022

Had forgotten what decoupage was again … pop-up ad arose which I almost immediately closed. .recalled that my parents had attended an exhibition of Matisse cut-outs and had a poster from it hanging somewhere in the house, but could not recall where it was hung, could not recall if the word decoupage occurred anywhere on it. previous day an Italian customer had spoken to me in french: like a long blur of words, the edges of whose meanings I could sometimes barely glean. previous weekend, a customer who was perhaps feeling defensive about my (congenial) efforts to show familiarity with his language, announced he knew eight languages, and asked how many I knew. Then a customer, who perhaps felt I needed some cheering after this encounter, and who herself knew several languages, including Esperanto, told me about all those people who say they can speak in eight languages — that you can never understand them in even one.

Later, I looked up decolletage again, because it seemed that, contrary to what I’d said in the post I was editing, that was a word that existed, a word that existed to the extent it would have spot in the dictionary, “the” dictionary, this time using wiktionary, and I found that it was a word, and a word that I had at one time known, though never frequently used, which indicated the low neckline on a woman’s dress.

That was interesting: why might have birds taking off among leaves have suggested a low neckline… leafage? cleavage? (I have consulted wiktionary again: leafage is a word, meaning foliage. There is a citation from Kipling from 1932). Birds upon the dry leafage. It is spelled with an accent, which is perhaps the reason I failed to find it on first looking it up, or perhaps I never had looked it up, but had looked up decoller, and just assumed that because decoller was a word, decolletage must not be, decolletage was simply my misremembering of decollerColler is to stick and decoller to unstick — to unbutton? Birds the buttons of the ground, being removed, leaves parting to reveal the ground?

Looked up Diolkos having seen it mentioned by a British Thucydides scholar, surprised I hadn’t heard of it, a road, maybe a railway traversing the isthmus of Corinth, from the Corinthian Gulf to the Saronic, over which they’d carry boats, even ships, and cargo, 3.7 miles, so about the distance I walk to work. You could imagine it. This was, in human terms, a long time ago, two thousand or twenty five hundred years ago. Problem is why you wouldn’t hear more about when it seems like it would be a valuable choke point in Ancient times, comparable to the Suez Canal. Why don’t you read of the Athenians trying to hold it if the Spartans can just haul their ships across… of the Spartans trying to block it? So on. The Arcanians. Maybe of course because all the real action was simply up and down the Aegean coast (if that’s actually the case).

Customers’ investment styles

January 10, 2022

Customer said father was drug addict, died young. Customer described himself as a “gold bug.” Attendant thought it was interesting that the other customer who’d told him he’d put his savings in gold also described himself pejoratively as a “gold bug.” I’m a gold bug, this customer had plainly said.

Who were the customers who had said they’d invested in Bitcoin or other crypto currencies: young (20s-30s) single white tradesman; 45ish white professional, family man; 20’s single South Asian American (bicycle technician); Single young (20-30s) Ethiopian man (green card), in hospitality/ concierge. Customers who thought it was dumb (including one of my “gold bugs”) were mainly over 60.

Another customer had said he invested only in Treasuries, wouldn’t touch stocks. Another customer said he had sold at the bottom in 2008, couldn’t afford to see his 401k go down to zero. Another customer had been “living the life” before the tech crash, declared bankruptcy after, the margin calls coming in, but had recovered: had a house, a rental property, a Cadillac (which latter he always traded in as the warranty expired) and continued to enjoy playing the market.

Customers were boisterous but good-hearted teens.

January 9, 2022

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Hell to the no

January 7, 2022

New expression learned at the Shell (which is why one goes to the Shell, not the BP): “hell to the no”, as in hell to the power of no.

Man had said “hell no”, then to emphasize the true extent of his negation, repeated it with the intensifier: hell to the no. Said it perfectly naturally and spontaneously too – in fact, because such a thing cannot be said without spontaneity, I can’t really claim to have learned it. [I was mistaken: such a thing can be said without spontaneity: see.]

This is why one goes to The Shell. The BP is where more reasonable, less spontaneous people go, because it’s more up-to-date, better maintained and the gas is around ten cents cheaper. A lot of lottery ticket buyers favor The Shell. The man who said hell to the no took a chance and won.

January 7, 2022

Q: what was the nurse’s complaints about some of the patients at his hospital?

Answer: they treated it “like a hotel.”

Q: had the cab driver ever had anyone famous in his cab and had he or she tipped well?

Answer: Newt Gingrich. No tip.