Saturday, September 23, 2006

Some Nanaimo Trees

Every Simpsons foolin'

(above "Lemon of Troy" Season 6, my personal favorite)

Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

"All the movements of a cat, when feeling affectionate, are in complete antithesis to those just described. She now stands upright, with slightly arched back, tail perpendicularly raised, and ears erected; and she rubs her cheeks and flanks against her master or mistress. The desire to rub something is so strong in cats under this state of mind, that they may often be seen rubbing themselves against the legs of chairs or tables, or against door-posts. This manner of expressing affection probably originated through association, as in the case of dogs, from the mother nursing and fondling her young; and perhaps from the young themselves loving each other and playing together. Another and very different gesture, expressive of pleasure, has already been described, namely, the curious manner in which young and even old cats, when pleased, alternately protrude their fore-feet, with separated toes, as if pushing against and sucking their mother's teats. This habit is so far analogous to that of rubbing against something, that both apparently are derived from actions performed during the nursing period. Why cats should show affection by rubbing so much more than do dogs, though the latter delight in contact with their masters, and why cats only occasionally lick the hands of their friends, whilst dogs always do so, I cannot say..."

the inimitable Eric Korn on Darwin's "Expression" & the used book market, etc.

"Darwin's books can be classified by smell. "A Naturalist's Voyage" smells of the rainforest, the barnacle books smell of formalin, the (strangely neglected) botany books like "Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species" smell of the greenhouse, the earthworm book reeks of the compost heap and Darwin's Thinking Path at Down in autumn. "Expression" smells of the North Downs, and a man out walking his dog and his stick, chatting with pigeon fanciers, racing men and the occasional zookeeper, teaplanter or missionary on leave. How many miles from Down to Selborne? About three score and ten if you avoid the M25. A journey from 18th-century squire-naturalist to scientific biologist, and back again..."

Isaac D'Israeli on Literary Anecdotes

"In literary biography a man of genius always finds something which relates to himself. The studies of artists have a great uniformity, and their habits of life are monotonous. They have all the same difficulties to encounter, although they do not all meet with the same glory. How many secrets may the man of genius learn from literary anecdotes! important secrets, which his friends will not convey to him. He traces the effects of similar studies; warned sometimes by failures, and often animated by watching the incipient and shadowy attempts which closed in a great work. From one he learns in what manner he planned and corrected; from another he may overcome those obstacles which, perhaps, at that very moment make him rise in despair from his own unfinished labour. What perhaps he had in vain desired to know for half his life is revealed to him by a literary anecdote; and thus the amusements of indolent hours may impart the vigour of study; as we find sometimes in the fruit we have taken for pleasure the medicine which restores our health. How superficial is that cry of some impertinent pretended geniuses of these times, who affect to exclaim, “Give me no anecdotes of an author, but give me his works!” I have often found the anecdotes more interesting than the works."

oh won't you please crawl out of these Blonde On Blonde Outtakes

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hey kids, I'd like to do a little thing I wrote called “The Pressure of Reified Bourgeois Culture Incites Flight Into the Phantasm of Nature, Which Then Ultimately Proves to be the Herald of Absolute Oppression. The Aesthetic Nerves Quiver to Return to the Stone Age...”

Solid! Let's hear it for quiverin' caveman keys of Mr. Teddy Adorno!

(good review of Theodor Adorno's "Philosophy of New Music")

Brother XII's "House of Mystery"


"Although idyllic in description, it was not long before tales of misappropriation of funds, tyranny, threats, sexual misconduct, psychological and physical abuse surfaced in a number of court cases. The main characters involved, Brother XII included, were all mature, educated, and serious students of esoteric subjects. They did not reflect the typical membership of a cult, at least as popularly conceived. They were neither young, unsophisticated, nor irresponsible individuals that joined but rather highly articulate and successful individuals, among whom was the novelist and short-story writer Will Levington Comfort. The outcome of this misadventure was ruined lives, people separated from their wealth, disillusionment, and the strange disappearance of Brother XII himself. All this happened between 1928 and 1933. Surely, this movement must be considered a direct precursor to modern cults..."

an interesting tunnel under the Literacy Nanaimo Bookstore amongst much at the immediately indispensable Things to do in Nanaimo

"Nanaimo's younger population often says that our city is boring. But only boring people get bored. Besides, there's a tonne of stuff to do around here, especially if you like being outside. Prefer to lounge about indoors? We've got a bit of that, too.

Check out our forum!

Our Nanaimo forum has all kinds of interesting local information, from artifacts that people have found, to an interesting tunnel, to our little game of posting local photos and letting people guess where the photo was taken ("Guess Where This Is?")..."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the sixth issue of Tim Atkins' always excellent
onedit is up including work by Clark Coolidge, Sean Bonney, Tom Raworth, a translation of Queneau, etc, and "Edith & Enid", a golden oldie from Deanna Ferguson...

...Son, what boils your potatoes?

Butter out of reach, the aging out?

My feet, to his father said the boy

All long with burls and baked arches

My footprints back off where my too-close together eyes peruse

Light into wind, flight into dream

But my dogged, dog-eared, dog-goned hush puppies are dense out of fear

All alters raise shades to polyodorous fearfully

Father then loads up the old revolver

Bade us the recommensurate sea, reaches once more for it

Now, as I recall, he foretold our lot

A lot of pussy-piled cheats who feast on beer

"O curb, body, avert the curse. Alternate between hollowed-out and torn."

Enough weeping, long sobbed songs lobbed in vain...

celebrate fall with today's YouTube - THE KINKS - AUTUMN ALMANAC. I've said it before but someday I'd be very happy to write a line half as good as "From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar...."

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
When the dawn begins to crack.
It's all part of my autumn almanac.
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow,
So I sweep them in my sack.
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

Friday evenings, people get together,
Hiding from the weather.
Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns
Can't compensate for lack of sun,
Because the summer's all gone.

Oh, my poor rheumatic back
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

I like my football on a Saturday,
Roast beef on Sundays, all right.
I go to Blackpool for my holidays,
Sit in the open sunlight.

This is my street, and I'm never gonna to leave it,
And I'm always gonna to stay here
If I live to be ninety-nine,
'Cause all the people I meet
Seem to come from my street
And I can't get away,
Because it's calling me, (come on home)
Hear it calling me, (come on home)

Oh, my autumn Armagnac
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Bop-bop-bopm-bop-bop, whoa!
Bop-bop-bopm-bop-bop, whoa!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Animals Dream by Jerry Pethick

"The inter-relatedness of the component parts of the array work reflect an interest that has been developing for some time in my mind. The bee-hive like pattern (I later learned was referred to as hexagonal stacking) had always seemed to me to be a satisfying formulation of like parts, marbles on a tray, loose ball-bearings rolling together, BB pellets piling themselves in a box; the pattern, we would learn later, that made up the fly's eye, and the honey-comb. This last holds a fascination with the bees' social organisation, with its reduced individualism depending on the similar traits of component parts being of the same importance, same scale, same shape. The architecture of a society, the near order of swarming bees..."

Ravens over the house.

round-up of Books on Bees

"It may well be that in the face of the honey bee, obsession is the only sane response available, reassuring evidence of true perception. Consider, for instance, this brute fact: that 16-ounce honey bear in your pantry exists only because tens of thousands of bees flew some 112,000 miles in a relentless, unquestioned pursuit of nectar gathered from 4.5 million flowers. Every one of those foraging bees was female. By the time the life of each ended—they live all of six weeks during honey-making season—each bee flew about 500 miles in twenty days, the span each lives outside the hive..."

technical but interesting Tale of the Red-winged Blackbird: A Case Study of Varnish Removal from a Watercolor Painting

"Before proceeding with treatment, the conservators and curator asked several essential questions: Did the artist apply the varnish? Why was it applied and what was it composed of? Could the varnish be removed without damage to the watercolor below? Using various analytical techniques, answers to these questions began to unfold during further study of the painting..."

fine online version of 18th cent. illustrator Mark Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

a gift from the city: a big jar of Galeffi Effervescente, with that beautiful Art Deco girl on the label, delicately preparing to make room for some espresso & biscotti...
A-O Canada

"From there, the Mounted Police asked that the couple be included in a database that alerts United States border officers to suspect individuals. The police described Mr. Arar and his wife as, the report said, “Islamic extremists suspected of being linked to the al Qaeda movement.”

The commission said that all who testified before it accepted that the description was false.

According to the inquiry’s finding, the Mounted Police gave the F.B.I. and other American authorities material from Project A-O Canada, which included suggestions that Mr. Arar had visited Washington around Sept. 11 and had refused to cooperate with the Canadian police. The handover of the data violated the force’s own guidelines, but was justified on the basis that such rules no longer applied after 2001..."

Didion on Cheney: The Fatal Touch

"Ultimately, I am the guy who pulled the trigger and fired the round that hit Harry," he managed, four days later, to say to Fox News in a memorable performance of a man accepting responsibility but not quite. "You can talk about all the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line. It's not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else."

Like "it's not Harry's fault," which implied that you or I or any other fair observer (for example Katharine Armstrong, characterized by Cheney as "an acknowledged expert in all of this") might well conclude that it had been, "other priorities" suggested a familiar character wrinkle, in this case the same willingness to cloud an actual issue with circular arguments ("I complied fully with all the requirements of the statutes") that would later be demonstrated by the Vice President's people when they maintained that the Geneva Conventions need not apply to Afghan detainees because Afghanistan was a "failed state." What these tortured and in many cases invented legalities are designed to preclude is any acknowledgment that the issue at hand, whether it is avoiding military service or authorizing torture, might have a moral or an ethical or even a self-interested dimension that merits discussion.

This latter dimension, self-interest, which was the basis for John McCain's argument that we could not expect others to honor the Geneva Conventions if we did not do so ourselves, was dismissed by David Addington, at the time Cheney's legal architect, in the "new paradigm" memo he drafted in 2002 to go to the President over White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales's signature. "It should be noted that your policy of providing humane treatment to enemy detainees gives us the credibility to insist on like treatment for our soldiers," the memo read, sliding past a key point, which was that the "new paradigm" differentiated between "enemy detainees" and "illegal enemy combatants," or "terrorists," a distinction to be determined by whoever did the detaining.

Moreover, even if GPW [Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War] is not applicable, we can still bring war crimes charges against anyone who mistreats US personnel. Finally, I note that...terrorists will not follow GPW rules in any event.
This is not law. This is casuistry, the detritus of another perfect storm, the one that occurred when the deferments of the Vietnam years met the ardor of the Reagan Revolution..."
Land of the Tortured

"So why is the Bush administration so determined to torture people?

To show that it can..."

Monday, September 18, 2006

new LBJ bio...

"To sum up the ironic ending to Johnson's career, Woods quotes the columnist Charles Roberts: "The most militant civil-rights advocate ever to occupy the White House, reviled by Negro militants; a Southerner scorned by Southerners as a turn-coat; a liberal despised by liberals despite the fact he achieved most of what they sought for thirty years; a friend of education, rejected by intellectuals; a compromiser who could not compromise a war ten thousand miles away.""

interview with writer/director Rian Johnson whose high school noir "Brick" was one of the most accomplished first films I've seen in a while. The conceit of having high schoolers addressing each other in tough-guy patois could have gone very, very wrong but Johnson and his crew play it straight and with utter conviction, and the use of the San Clemente locations (including the actual high school Johnson attended) is inspired. A name to watch.