Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Blindman’s Ballad

Madame Life's a tart in bloom;
Death's her pimp upon the stair;
she may ask you to her room;
he'll be waiting while you're there.

She may see you as a friend;
you may gyp him once or twice;
but he'll get you in the end;
and you'll have to pay her price.

After it's all said and done;
after laughter, songs, and prayers;
Death takes everything you've won;
and kicks you down the funny stairs.

[ -- a guest contribution from our friend,
the Blind Bard of Indiana]

Saturday, September 15, 2018

tableau sur Seine

the Louvre
the river
the green  glass    sky

       [Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928), p.  311]

Friday, September 14, 2018

Two views of Mr Stokes

(1)   Old Mr Stokes, the gardener,  passed
          carrying a rake.

(2)  Old Mr Stokes,  recognizable
       by the four parallel pencil-strokes 
       issuing from his chin

       [Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928), p.  186]

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Life in the leaf-litter layer

     The waiters darted about  almost invisibly,
        like leaf-insects in a forest

       [Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928), p.  280]

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Motes in Light

     The leaning column  of yellow light   full of motes

       [Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928), p.  246]

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Fixed That For You

* A rising tide lifts all boats.

=>  A rising tide … drowns those with no boat.

* The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

=>  The proof of the pudding is in successfully digesting it. 
(Otherwise, the pudding might have a slow-acting poison.)

* “We demand the right to contradict ourselves!”
(-- student-rebel slogan, Paris 1968)

=>  No, we don’t.

Fixed That 4 U.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chestertonian footnote

[an addendum to this essay:
http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-locked-room-mystery-inside-out.html ]

This (let us call it) sub-subgenre of the whodunit, in which it is the (amateur) detective who is “locked in”, and -- denied sight -- must judge by muffled sounds, is brought to the pitch of perfection, and indeed to spiritual depth, in G.K. Chesterton’s short story, “The Queer Feet” (1910; collected in The Innocence of Father Brown).  Here Father Brown is temporarily sequestered in a closed chamber off a back passageway;  and from this vantage, deduces all, both factual and spiritual, based simply upon the footfalls of an unnatural gait.  Indeed, the story is a kind of rhythmic pendant to the visual-geometrical masterpiece, "The Wrong Shape".

Etymology of the Day: goujat

It turns out there is a curious reflex of goy in the French lexicon: goujat.

1. (vieux) valet d’armée
2. (vieux ou régional)  apprenti maçon
3. (vieux) rustre …
[mot languedocien, de l’ancien provençal gojat “gars”, hébreu goya “servante chrétienne”]
-- Dictionnaire de la langue française (Bordas)

 For much more about the background of such  servantes chrétiennes, try this essay: