Saturday, January 29, 2005

one too many Burns Suppers and Orange Lodge marches for this Scotsman columnist--

"Concerns, as expressed in this newspaper yesterday, that young people are put off by the formality of Burns suppers have nothing to do with it. It's the fear of yet another rendering of one or both of those poems, a fear that also afflicts the not quite so young, including a writer near you.

Nothing, or not very much, against the performers. Most renditions I've heard - and I've heard a puckle over the years - have been well done, some with the Holy Willie works of nightgown, nightcap and candle, Tam with a bunnet and once a cameo appearance by Cutty Sark.

It is simply that custom does stale their infinite variety. How those enthusiasts who attend a string of suppers each year manage without screaming I don't know. It can only be that, like judges at a gymnastic competition, they pass the time by awarding points: "A good "chosen sample" but only a moderate "ne'er lift a lawless leg" and fell apart on " 'a the glory shall be thine"- 5.3. Next!"

And a next there will be. They only have to wait until the next supper where, let us not forget, there will be yet one more address to the ubiquitous chieftain o' the pudden race, abune them a' taking its place, gushing its entrails and with some over-enthusiastic declaimer clapping a blade in his walie nieve and making it wissle to risk of throats and fingers. Haud me back. "

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happy birthday to composers Luigi Nono and Frederick DeliusPosted by Hello

always lots to see at the Courtauld Institute's Art & Architecture site, including a puppy by Wyndham Lewis & nice set of "stormy weather" images, including this 17th cent chalk/watercolour drawing by Anthonie Waterloo... Posted by Hello

interesting long review of two books by cineaste David Thomson--

"What is the social effect of close-ups edging out shots of people interacting in a definite environment, or of a jumpy camera or digitized effects overwhelming reality as opposed to a steady camera subordinate to the visible world? How has movie music affected our patience with trying, unscored moments in life? (The iPod is our way of scoring our otherwise uneventful days.) What does it mean that films, unlike plays, are shot out of chronological sequence? How does that influence an actor's style, and how do the actors influence us? Or do they?" Posted by Hello

Friday, January 28, 2005

Walked over to the other side of the valley and up Gomerich Rd. to the highest viewpoint (maybe 40 ft), where there is now a newly built house facing the lake just up from which another new house in the same style, what I'd call "mini-estate", faces it. Not grossly big, like the monstrosities to the north of town or the big biker-era compounds up the hill down long, hooded driveways. No fuss landscaping, but well kept (wee topiary, "bedding"plants, etc.)--in a neighbourhood where fussily tended vegetable gardens by no means preclude an abandoned vehicle or two on the property, they have carved out an honorable middle way. Their only contemporary indulgence the hunched acknowledgment of the "view"--the little lake, the farm, the coal tip covered with arbutus that obscures our house, the curve of the train tracks--that the older houses, built when the valley was either an open mine or a swamp, were designed to alleviate. Hence the rose gardens and carpentry, the hobby farm, that closed in communal fireside life. But the rickety little barn at the corner of the property, spared into its second century only by a continuing need for the convenient storage of wood, held up by creosote fumes, is now valued for its melancholy aspect, has become a "feature", the way old parks get swallowed up in new suburbs. The way Nanaimo started facing the ocean around the time of Expo '86.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 27, 2005

happy birthday Samuel PalmerPosted by Hello

the marvellous burritos of conceptual artist Raul Vincent Enriquez provided some unexpected & much-needed comfort on the grim night of the US election... Posted by Hello

classic punk-era Vancouver Complication re-issued at last--

"My older brother bought Vancouver Complication when I was, like, 10 years old," Newman explains when reached at his home, "and 'The Marching Song' by Pointed Sticks was one of my favourite songs. I thought that was just as good as any of the hits on the radio. And then when I was a teenager, I remember going back and looking through my brother's records that he had basically abandoned, and going, 'Hey, I know this record,' and putting it on and thinking it was great. I just love it--I mean, it really proves that the Vancouver punk scene was just as good as any punk scene anywhere."  Posted by Hello

check out dj /Rupture's lively blog Mudd Up! mp3's, comment & more--

" Monied pop is a strange precipice. The underground is large the way cemeteries are large--room enough for everybody." Posted by Hello

(cafe in Brockley, London SE4)

The aquamarine 47 pence profile of our Queen and the Royal Mail par avion sticker gleaming in my mailbox must mean it's the 23rd issue of the always welcome TOLLING ELVES, which is an (err...) excerpt from Kevin Davies' "Excerpts" (see pennsound for audio) and a funky collage from Deirdre Kovac (issue 19)

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Apes Overthrow Descartes in Authorial Intention Shocker

"Phillips said the experiment showed that monkeys 'are not random generators. They're more complex than that.

'They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there.' " Posted by Hello

Pallet Stack Creates Art Status Ruckus

"'He was a conniver, a schemer, and a manipulator,' wrote Hal Wheatley. He did not create art, Wheatley said. 'Instead, he used his eccentric creation to justify a deeply selfish motive--avoidance of societal regulation.' " Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Unexpected outing yesterday with Bob to Shawnigan Lake where he picked up a new 12-foot aluminum skiff. On the way back we stopped in at the Merridale Estate Cidery, tucked into a lovely little valley, trees bare but at least the snow was gone & the sun was half-out. And there were free samples. The "scrumpy" (rough cider, made from small or unselected apples. Also attrib. in scrumpy cider. 1904 in Eng. Dial. Dict. s.v., These apples are of no good but to make scrumpy of. 1932 [see nobble v. 3].1962 G. Compton Too Many Murderers xii. 87 Scrumpy was only eightpence a pint. 1973 C. Bonington Next Horizon viii. 114 A brisk five-minute walk took you to the Coronation Tap, where you could down a pint of scrumpy cider and eat home-made pies) is quite something.

(from Scrump, v. trans. To steal (apples), esp. from orchards. Also transf. and absol. 1866 R. Hallam Wadsley Jack iv. 17 Dick Greasy ax'd me if I'd mak' one to goa a scrumpim', that is, fetchin' apples off sumboddy's trees. 1931 ‘G. Orwell’ Hop-Picking in Coll. Essays (1968) I. 71 Scrump, to, to steal. 1945 B. Naughton in C. Madge Pilot Papers I. 101 They'd come scrumping in Woolworths, or over at the market, or from the street stalls. 1951 A. Baron Rosie Hogarth iii. i. 137 Scrumping apples, remember? God didn't put 'em on that tree for Mr. Moggeridge. 1966 M. Torrie Heavy as Lead xiv. 169 His lordship was going scrumping. You know. Kids scrump apples, Sir G. scrumped rock garden plants. 1972 K. Bonfiglioli Don't point that Thing at Me i. 3 English policemendare not even spank the bottoms of little boys caught scrumping apples nowadays. Hence scrumped ppl. a.; "scrumper, one who scrumps; "scrumping vbl. n. 1946 Scrutiny XIII. 293 There is to be, after all, no development in Fant's moral powers: only, as it were, a schoolboy scrumping of all the redeeming fruits of experience. 1957 Times 20 Aug. 5/1 Scrumping is an offence which perhaps no one in this court-room has not committed. 1969 M. Wiggin Cottage Idyll ii. 26 One scoundrel sent me a message to the effect that he would like his cherished scrumping stick back. 1973 D. Orgill Jasius Pursuit i. 9 If the police had to jail every hippy fruit-scrumper, the prisons would soon be overcrowded. 1976 A. Hill Summer's End vii. 98 Scrumped apples always taste better than bought ones. 1981 Daily Tel. 3 Mar. 3/1 (heading) Rector used stick on girl scrumper.

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Used books in Red Hook--

"The used bookstore is a unique business model in which inventory is, to a good extent, determined by the direct participation of its customers. The customers' cultural awareness, preferences, age, education, careers, and direction of curiosity at certain times and places in their lives defines what stocks the shelves, and so the used bookstore becomes a reflection of its customers, if only at slight angles. This is not simply the nature of selling used merchandise. Most used goods, the kind you might find at a pawnshop, don't have enough variation or cultural encoding to bear the residue of their previous owners. A camera model in a certain condition says something, but nothing we can decode. An old ring with inscribed initials is missing its Rosetta Stone. But an underlined segment of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets points to a reader's epiphany, and what sort of person he or she was to be moved by such imagery: And you see in every face the mental emptiness/deepen/leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about. "

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devotees of George Saintsbury (and I mean you ) should note that the The Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes. 1907-21 contains a lot of his work (on prosody, "minor" poets & much more) not found elsewhere (on the web anyway)... Posted by Hello
a proper conservative talks about End-Timers & Neo-Cons

"The conservative movement that I grew up in did not share the liberals' abiding faith in government. 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it. Thus, the Patriot Act, which permits government to suspend a person's civil liberty by calling him a terrorist with or without proof. Thus, preemptive war, which permits the President to invade other countries based on unverified assertions.

There is nothing conservative about these positions. To label them conservative is to make the same error as labeling the 1930s German Brownshirts conservative.

American liberals called the Brownshirts 'conservative,' because the Brownshirts were obviously not liberal. They were ignorant, violent, delusional, and they worshipped a man of no known distinction. Brownshirts' delusions were protected by an emotional force field. Adulation of power and force prevented Brownshirts from recognizing implications for their country of their reckless doctrines."

author Philip Pullman on teaching writing--

"What does work, the York study maintains, is writing in a meaningful context: writing as a practical hands-on craft activity. One of the implications of this is that teachers have to be confident about writing - about play, about delight. Too many are not, because they haven't had to be; and the result is the dismal misery of the "creative writing" drills tested in the Sats, where children are instructed to plan, draft, edit, revise, rewrite, always in the same order, always in the same proportions, always in the same way. If teachers knew something about the joy of fooling about with words, their pupils would write with much greater fluency and effectiveness. Teachers and pupils alike would see that the only reason for writing is to produce something true and beautiful; that they were on the same side, with the teacher as mentor, as editor, not as instructor and measurer, critic and judge." Posted by Hello

(The Auld Kirk in Alloway, scene of the Witches Sabbath in "Tam O'Shanter"--lived with my family about a mile from it, '70-72)

some recipes for your Burns Supper

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Monday, January 24, 2005

Anodyne adds to the "How Cats Spend Their Time" anthology--

"A beast can
not bear its own weight
out of water, gravity
collapses, holes appear
at the heart of things. "

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Our lone goldfish, that lives in a barrel on the porch, seems to have survived the cold spell. The fish in this Matisse don't have nearly enough room.

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(Byron being greeted at Missolonghi)

belated birthday greetings to the esteemed author of Don Juan

"The evaporation of a joyous day
Is like the last glass of champagne, without
The foam which made its virgin bumper gay;
Or like a system coupled with a doubt;
Or like a soda bottle when its spray
Has sparkled and let half its spirit out;
Or like a billow left by storms behind,
Without the animation of the wind;

Or like an opiate, which brings troubled rest,
Or none; or like -- like nothing that I know
Except itself; -- such is the human breast;
A thing, of which similitudes can show
No real likeness, -- like the old Tyrian vest
Dyed purple, none at present can tell how,
If from a shell-fish or from cochineal.
So perish every tyrant's robe piece-meal! "

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(NYC 1888)

thanks metafilter for The Digital Snow Museum

Stay warm and safe... Posted by Hello