June 12, 2013

This & That

Oh the sheer poetry of Melville!
One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, although it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius' crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms! For in the mere act of penning my thoughts of this Leviathan, they weary me, and make me faint with their outreaching comprehensiveness of sweep…
I must say this edition of Arion's (of Moby Dick) has the most appropriate gothic-looking font, one called “Goudy Modern”. Very appealing. Makes me appreciate the printed book.

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Kind of fun to go back and read the Yelp reviews of the universally beloved Zingone Bros, the Gastronome 491, and World Coffee in New York. Of World Coffee someone wrote:
Like most shit in Manhattan, all this place really has going for it is location. I love sitting in the window eating their mediocre and overpriced breakfast special while watching the Upper West Side wake up, walk dogs, and pick up oddities from the bodega across the street. And when the dogs take a dump you can just avert your eyes and look out on the park across the street and the old apartment buildings.
It was kind of humorous that a coffee shop got so many reviews and was so controversial, receiving many 4 and 5 stars and quite a few 1s and 2s. Only snobbish Upper Westsiders would get their noses out of joint over a coffee joint, as if the fate of the western world rested on their reviews. I did feel a bit of a pang of regret when someone mentioned it being next door to the highly praised Natural History museum. Definitely should've gone there instead of to the lame City Museum of New York, although the Nat'l History website didn't really excite me. Would've been nice to have had one more day in the Apple I suppose, or at least avoided the City Museum and the 9/11 memorial.

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Thought this statue was holding an iPhone! It's a crucifix.

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We were in south-central West Virginia this past weekend and Masstimes.org is usually pretty dependable but can be wrong on obscure Catholic churches in the heart of the mountain Bible Belt. 10:30 mass at at Sts Peter & Paul was 10am on masstimes.org and we'd arrived at like 9:45. So we decided to take off and maybe find one along the way. Went the wrong way on Route 19 and ended up not getting on I-64 right away but instead going over the country road (“blue highway”) of Route 60. Went by a lot of Civil War markers including one that looked like it said “Stonewall Jackson's Mother's House”. Not much luck on the church front until at 11am we happened upon a church along the road, one that didn't seem to be in Masstimes (at least didn't show up with my spotty 3G signal). It was in the metropolis of Boomer, WV and providentially Mass started in just four minutes. Steph elected to wait in the car since it was too hot for Buddy to be out there that long. I entered and asked the usher, a huge, beefy bouncer-like guy if I could bring my dog in the back (hoping things were more informal in a tiny hamlet in WV); he pointed to the priest a few feet away and said, “ask him” but I didn't want to bother him with it. Friendly people in this little church at Our Father time. The beefy usher turned around and faced me and his wife and grabbed my right hand. The lady some goodly way to my left came over and managed to grab my left. And so we said the Lord's Prayer. The one Body of Christ in action, if not exactly rubrically correct. The priest was apparently giving his last homily before moving on to another parish. What he'll miss was predictable: the people, the smell of the mountains on spring mornings, the camaraderie of the parish. I was surprised he listed what he wouldn't miss: coal dust (to many appreciative chuckles in the crowd), having to drive 30 minutes to go to a movie theater or shop, and having to wait till noon before the summer sun will peek over the mountain.

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Found these excerpts on a blog: 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), “Night in June”:

I left my dreary page and sallied forth,
Received the fair inscriptions of the night;
The moon was making amber of the world,
Glittered with silver every cottage pane,
The trees were rich, yet ominous with gloom.

The meadows broad
From ferns and grapes and from the folded flowers
Sent a nocturnal fragrance; harlot flies
Flashed their small fires in air, or held their court
In fairy groves of herds-grass.

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Charles Cot­ton (1630-1687), “Anacreontick,” in his Poems on Sev­er­al Occa­sions (Lon­don: Print­ed for Tho. Bassett…, 1689), pp. 88-89:
Fill a Boul of lusty Wine,
Brisk­est Daugh­ter of the Vine;
Fill't untill it Sea-like flow, That my cheek may once more glow. I am fifty Win­ters old, Bloud then stag­nates and grows cold, And when Youth­full heat decays, We must help it by these ways. Wine breeds Mirth, and Mirth imparts Heat and Courage to our hearts, Which in old men else are lead, And not warm'd would soon be dead. Now I'm spright­ly, fill agen, Stop not though they mount to ten...
James Payn, in 1899 opined:
The rea­sons why old men have writ­ten in praise of old age are not far to seek: they say with Johnson,'Do not let us dis­cour­age one another.' They are in for it, and they make the best of it; it is not well to cry stink­ing fish.
 And one more:
Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866), Crochet Castle (1831), chap. VII (Rev. Dr. Folliott speaking):
[T]here is nothing more fit to be looked at than the outside of a book. It is, as I may say from repeated experience, a pure and unmixed pleasure to have a goodly volume lying before you, and to know that you may open it if you please, and need not open it unless you please. It is a resource against ennui, if ennui should come upon you. To have the resource and not to feel the ennui, to enjoy your bottle in the present, and your book in the indefinite future, is a delightful condition of human existence.

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