Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Sea #2, King James Version #1

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Jonah 1:17-2:10

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Scopitone #9, Archaeology of the Music Video #1

France Gall, "Les Sucettes"

Alcohol #5, Aviation #1

Architecture #2


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Word of the Day #12


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Apocalypse #5, The Animal Kingdom #1

 "Lionesses don’t keep you from your butterflies?”
 "They seem to think it’s gone farther away. I don’t suppose it would hurt me,” Mr. Tighe said. “And even if it did—when I think of the number of butterflies I’ve caught—I should feel it was only fair. Tit for tat, you know. The brutes—if you can call a butterfly a brute—getting a little of their own back. They deserve to.”
 “In England perhaps” Anthony allowed, “but do you think altogether? […] “Haven’t the animals had it a good deal their own way on the earth?”
 The other shook his head. “Think of the great monsters,” he said. “The mammoth and the plesiosaurus and the sabre-toothed tiger. Think of what butterflies must have been once, what they are now in the jungles. But they will pass with the jungles. Man must conquer, but I should feel a sympathy with the last campaign of the brutes.”
 “I see—yes,” Anthony said. “I hadn’t thought of it like that. Do you think the animals will die out?”
 “Perhaps,” Tighe said. “When we don’t want them for transport—or for food—what will be left to them but the zoos? The birds and the moths, I suppose, will be the last to go. When all the trees are cut down.”
 “But, objected Anthony, “all the trees won’t be cut down. What about forestry and irrigation and so?’
 “O,” Mr. Tighe said, “There may be tame forests, with artificially induced butterflies. That will be only a larger kind of zoo. The real thing will have passed.”
  “And even if they do,” Anthony asked, “will man have lost anything very desirable? What after all has a lioness to show us that we cannot know without her? Isn’t all real strength to be found within us?”
 “It may be,” Mr. Tighe answered. “It may be that man will have other enemies and other joys—better perhaps. But the older ones were very lovely.”

Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion (1933)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Banality #1, Auden #8

Banality can be made of comic interest but only by parodying it, to the point where the audience recognizes the banality; but exaggerated banality is no longer banal.

"The Martyr as Dramatic Hero," Secondary Worlds

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Intertitle #1

This boy and girl were never properly introduced to the world we live in.

They Live By Night
(1949) d: Nicholas Ray

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Manhattan #4

Fifty years from now New York will be a capital city in a united world. A city of several levels of glass and light, with building masses set wide apart and separated by tree-lined malls. It will, I hope be run by atomic power, working for peace, not war. That, of course, is the hope on which the future of the city, and the world, depends.

Hugh Ferriss, New York Times Magazine (1949)
View east on 42nd Street

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Foreign Lands #6, Shakespeare #4

Let Rome in Tyber melt, and the wide Arch
Of the raing’d Empire fall: Heere is my space.

William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra I.i.

Scopitone #8

Chills run up and down my spine, Aladdin's lamp is mine
The dream I dreamed was not denied me

"Long Ago and Far Away"
lyrics: Ira Gershwin music: Jerome Kern (1944)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Time #3

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual only for one time
And only one place

T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday" (excerpt)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Food #4

The pig has lived only to eat; he eats only to die.

Charles Monselet

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Architecture #1, Time #2

[T]he greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, nor in its gold. Its glory is in its Age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even approval of condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity.

John Ruskin, "The Lamp of Memory," The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Book Titles Without Context #2

The Spanish Military Nun

Thomas De Quincey (1847)

Manhattan #3, Melville #2, The Sea #1

There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs - commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall northward. What do you see? - Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster - tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand - miles of them - leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues, - north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music #6, Cinema #2

Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan Screen Test (1965)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Music #5

Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the selfsame sounds
On my spirit make a music, too.

Music is a feeling, then, not sound;
And thus it is that what I feel,
Here in this room, desiring you,

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk,
Is music.

Wallace Stevens, "Peter Quince at the Clavier" (excerpt)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Word of the Day #11


Monday, September 11, 2006

Organizations #3

Committee of Neighbors to Get the Clock on Jefferson Market Courthouse Started

(Founded 1959)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cats #1

We do not have cats, cats have us. Cats are our Gods, the most expansive and approachable of Gods, that goes without saying.

Chris Marker

Diptych #1, Love #7, Time #1, Auden #7

Had we but World enough, and Time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long Love's Day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Shouldst Rubies find: I by the Tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood:
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the Conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable Love should grow
Vaster than Empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine Eyes and on thy Forehead Gaze;
Two hundred to adore each Breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An Age at least to every part,
And the last Age should show your Heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this State,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress" (excerpt), first published 1681

  "Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
  Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
  And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
  Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
  Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
  For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
  And the first love of the world."

W.H. Auden, "As I Walked Out One Evening" (excerpt), 1938

Obsolete Morality #2

      To Thieves, Thugs, Fakirs, and Bunko-Steerers
Among Whom Are J.J. Harlin, alias "Off Wheeler," SAWDUST CHARLIE, WM. HEDGES, BILLY THE KID, Billy Mullin, Little Jack, The Luter, Pock-Marked Kid, and about Twenty Others:
  If Found within the Limits of this City after TEN O'CLOCK P.M., this
  Night, you will be Invited to attend a GRAND NECK-TIE PARTY,
       The Expense of which will be borne by
          100 Substantial Citizens
       Las Vegas [New Mexico], March 24, 1882

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Word of the Day #10


Friday, September 08, 2006

Shakespeare #3, Alliteration #2, Scopitone #7

Come unto these yellow sands,
  And then take hands:
Curtsied when you have, and kist
  The wilde waves whist:
Foote it featly heere, and there, and sweete Sprights the burthen beare
Harke, harke, bowgh-wawgh: the watch-Dogges barke,
Hark, Hark, I heare the straine of strutting Chanticlere
  Cry cockadidle-dowe.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Alliteration #1, Lines Taken Out of Context #4, Shakespeare #2

When to the Sessions of sweet silent thought

William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXX

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Automobile #3, America #2

For the current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism. Perhaps the only thing that could bring Americans to their senses would be a clear demonstration of the fact that their highway program will, eventually, wipe out the very area of freedom that the private motorcar promise to retain for them. . . . That sense of freedom and power remains a fact today only in low-density areas, in the open country; the popularity of this method of escape has ruined the promise it once held forth. In using the car to flee from the metropolis the motorist finds that he has merely transferred congestion to the highway and thereby doubled it. When he reaches his destination, in a distant suburb, he finds that the countryside he sought has disappeared: beyond him, thanks to the motorway, lies only another suburb, just as dull as his own.

Lewis Mumford, The Highway and the City (1963) photo: Walker Evans

Monday, September 04, 2006

Memory #5

Let It Go

It is this deep blankness is the real thing strange.
 The more things happen to you the more you can't
   Tell or remember even what they were.

The contradictions cover such a range.
 The talk would talk and go so far aslant.
   You don't want madhouse and the whole thing there.

William Empson 

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Word of the Day #9


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Christianity #3, Auden #6

Just as we were all, potentially, in Adam when he fell, so we were all, potentially, in Jerusalem on that first Good Friday before there was an Easter, a Pentecost, a Christian, or a Church. It seems to me worth while asking ourselves who we should have been and what we should have been doing. None of us, I’m certain, will imagine himself as one of the Disciples, cowering in agony of spiritual despair and physical terror. Very few of us are big wheels enough to see ourselves as Pilate, or good churchmen enough to see ourselves as a member of the Sanhedrin. In my most optimistic mood I see myself a Hellenized Jew from Alexandria visiting an intellectual friend. We are walking along, engaged in philosophical argument. Our path takes us past the base of Golgotha. Looking up, we see an all too familiar sight—three crosses surrounded by a jeering crowd. Frowning with prim distaste, I say, “It’s disgusting the way the mob enjoy such things. Why can’t the authorities execute criminals humanely and in private by giving them hemlock to drink, as they did with Socrates?” Then, averting my eyes from the disagreeable spectacle, I resume our fascinating discussion about the nature of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

Commentary on "Friday, Good" in A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (1970)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Word of the Day #8


Love #6

Sexuellement, c'est-à-dire avec mon âme.

Boris Vian, L'écume des jours

Books on Books #1, Foreign Lands #5, Dead Presidents #1

To me Owen Wister is the writer I wish when I am hungry with the memories of lonely mountains, of vast sunny plains with seas of wind-rippled grass, of springing wild creatures, and lithe, sun-tanned men who ride with utter ease on ungroomed, half-broken horses. But when I lived much in cow camps I often carried a volume of Swinburne, as a kind of antiseptic to alkali dust, tepid, muddy water, frying-pan bread, sow-belly bacon, and the too-infrequent washing of sweat-drenched clothing.

Theodore Roosevelt, A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open (1916)

Scopitone #6

Chemises d'organdi, chaussures de zébu
Cravate d'Italie et méchant complet vermoulu
Un rubis au doigt... de pied, pas çui-là
Les ongles tout noirs et un tres joli p'tit mouchoir
J'vais au cinéma voir des films suédois
Et j'entre au bistro pour boire du whisky à gogo
J'ai pas mal au foie, personne fait plus ça
J'ai un ulcère, c'est moins banal et plus cher

J'suis snob... J'suis snob
J'm'appelle Patrick, mais on dit Bob

Boris Vian, "J'suis snob" (excerpt)