Monday, June 12, 2006

Awake & Sing Posted by Picasa

Resurrection, Now....

So, can't fucking believe it's been a month since the last post. Haven't been snoozing so much as reacclimating to a more normal diurnal pattern of sleep and feeding and work. Nearly 4 years of 24/7 patient care can deform all your expectations of how things are done - a postcard from one of the best friends of this site, featuring Rip Van Winkle, was more appropriate than the sender could have known (but he's smart and a little sneaky, so it probably didn't escape him).

More later today. As I find them, I'll fold in links to C-SPAN coverage of YearlyKos from this weekend, because the tail end I caught was brilliant.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Homage à Derek & Clive

Roy, I am in your debt (and Digby saw it first, for me). It's so odd; people who will kick you into the gutter - for your own good, of course - and maybe take an extra shot in the ribs for good measure, will squeal like stuck pigs if you utter a word they might find offensive, or decline their efforts to Save You from Hellfire. Or whatever. There's a name for them, and I think roy nailed it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

It Makes the World Go 'Round..... Posted by Picasa

Mayday + 5

This is not something I have wanted to do, but immediate circumstances - medical, job gap, maintaining minimal connection with the world ( that means with all of you, when it comes down to it...) - make a funding plea necessary. Any small amount in the PayPal tip jar (left column, and down...) will ease the situation. It will certainly be a hedge against brain-block, and a veritable guarantee of more fascinating, up-to-date posts. I, too, have missed that.

Thanks, in advance, for anything you can pony.

[Update: there's now an Amazon jar, too. Just got back from the semi-annual meetup of lawyers and craftsmen and assorted others who pay attention to things like The Goss Mystery, The Colbert Follies, and the rest of this last week's amusements. the food and drink were excellent, but everyone is a little confused....]

Onward & Upward Posted by Picasa

For Hugh

We lost one of our dearest friends this week, my extended family in Los Angeles. He selected the date and time, and, in consultation with those nearest to him, and most loved, he cashed out . The rest of us were not so well-prepared.

Some people are so vivid they seem to carry their own light around with them, and Hugh was one of those guys to me. He and I had a lunch date once, when I was working for a mutual fund whose offices were a matter of yards, a few stories, and a palisade away from the beach and the ocean. Hugh showed up sopping wet; he'd wanted a swim and hadn't bothered to bring a towel, and he was as elegant and as insouciant as ever. His real concern was to sell me a tapedeck he had on hand - needed the dough for an invention he was working on.

Surely, in a life filled with such improvisation, risk, private anxiety, tumultuous fortune, beauty and love - it took great pain and courage to decide where and when it would stop. As our friend Ron said, "He's braver than I am."

Memorial this Sunday, and the Sargent, above, is a tribute - Hugh was darker, but just as dashing, and JSS would have done him proud.

Borromini - the Baroque Curve Posted by Picasa


1983...1986, 1987...

In the sequestered week I described just below, I finished Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, a book I pounced on as soon as I'd heard of it, hailed to friends to look for when it won the [link] Booker, and then could only read in sleepy bits as my patient got worse last year. I was too tired with duties to give it the attention it deserved, and from the first third (1983, pressing into 1986), I knew it was too good to give less than my full attention, and now I had the license to give it.
[If you haven't read Hollinghurst before, I recommend checking out Colm Toibin's piece on this one in the NYRB of last year [V.52, n.1 - Jan 13, 2005] - it is not, unfortunately, free on-line, but it's a lovely summation of his work so far, and how The Line of Beauty extends his achievement. I'll quote from hardcopy in the following.]

Nick Guest, our mirror and lens, is down to London after taking a first-class degree at Oxford, preparing to pursue some - rather vague - post-graduate studies on Henry James and style. His perch is the Kensington Park Gardens house of his school friend Toby's family, the Feddens - Dad is the Tory MP for Nick's market-town home constituency, his wife of a distinguished and fabulously wealthy Jewish family, at whose country house the Master was himself a guest, from time to time. Nick is Out, but not yet about, and like many a Jamesian principal, he finds himself in unexpectedly deep waters. He is also acutely observant, ambitious, and - distinctly unlike your usual Jamesian hero - intensely, explicitly horny.

Hollinghurst, thank god, does not write coming-out stories. That grand first step is as nothing compared to the world that comes after. Nick announced he was gay, at school, before he had ever had man2man sex, but his sexual education, in 1983, is poised alongside the Thatcher landslide of that year, the rising fortunes of his host family, and the shadow of AIDS in the deep end.

There is no separating Nick's aesthetic from his sexual hunger or savor. Hollinghurst writes wonderfully about sex - it's hot - but I think it's as accessible to straight as it is to gay readers. Nobody gets caught (or should I say pinned, like a specimen), in the narrator's eye, in bed, in a park, in a t-room - lust gets very free rein, and all its delicious triggers, but fucking itself, are given the respect of privacy and tact. That keeps it on everyone's mind, all the time, and in this particular social comedy, that's as it should be.

As Toibin points out, quoting the narrator of The Folding Star, for Hollinghurst's gay heroes, "...the world of heterosexual feeling [is] never fully plausible." As a gay American reader, this is a kind of confidence - both a privacy and an assurance - that US gay culture too often dances around. I am sure heterosexuals feel exactly the same thing about me - neither of us should deny it, however. Taking that plausibility for granted gets Nick into considerable trouble - that and his empathy, which, while he is out of them himself, feeds the monsters in other peoples' closets.

I was on a pivot myself, in 1983, moving from one distant city to another one, and while I hung between them, the plague flags went up. It's a shock to jump from Nick's deflowering of 1983 to his confident cruising of the Hampstead Ponds in 1986, "grown slowly and unseriously heavier" in the years between (Hollinghurst knows what a daily 50 laps in the pool can do, I suspect, viz. The Swimming-Pool Library]). The middle distance is beginning to pile up with the lost. In a reader who had been there, who had shoved the cork back in the bottle, this is terrifying, and engenders envy. Nick is careful, to a degree - he's certainly not oblivious - but he's not overwhelmed by the paranoia, the panic, that was sweeping the United States at the time. There's no Larry Kramer on the scene, no ActUp, that I know about (and anyone in the UK who knows better, please comment). When the shit hits Nick's fan, it's in the form of classic British tab scandals, and it follows from an act of discretion, a fault of foresight, and some willful misreading of sex, love, politics and economics that could constitute a coat of arms for the Thatcher Era. Or the Reagan Era, for that matter.

At a certain point, you face the Beast in the Jungle - it comes for you, or you go after it. There is going to be blood, either way. Some of it - many pints, actually - go into Nick's OGEE, a luxury item magazine, part coke-dream, part reflection of Nick's love of the world's beauty - lustrous, and as he observes himself, somewhat malign - black-bound, glittering, akin to his friend Toby's sister's worst fears of a poisonous universe. The spine is flanked by mirrored Borromini angels' wings, forming the double curve of baroque churches, onion domes, Alhambra arches, the curve of a lover's back. It's ephemeral, but it's still a treasure.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Run for the Exits - and Watch Out for That Right Eyebrow...! Posted by Picasa

10 Days in the Country

If this was a conspiracy, it was one of Events. A death, a dislocation, a disconnection (very much in descending order of importance), while I got some teeth ripped out and replaced. Not quite replaced, yet - we're 2/3 there, but that's the setting. The dislocation was to a small river town on the Columbia, where my sister chose to live and where she chose, very kindly, to look after me.

Anyone - certainly all of you who read here - can duplicate the disconnection on their own; pretend you're on dial-up, limit yourself to 30 minutes a day connection time, max - also strictly broadcast TV channels, no cable access. Actually, add to this no computer access at all, even off-line. I brought mine with me, but she had cleverly put obstacles between every electrical outlet and my box, so after a little exploring, it was clear that I'd have to fall back on older technologies. E-mail checks only, and at her convenience (I still think, after nearly 10 years on-line myself, that she harbors suspicions that I'm Up to No Good when I log on - I do not intend to wise her up). For some of even the most Progressive people, e-tech - indeed, almost any tech - is suspect, and likely to be e-vil. My sister is as determinedly Progressive as they come, but I had the feeling that she was scanning me for signs of having, you know, imps or familiars hanging around in my aura. Maybe I should never have mentioned my love for Buffy all those years ago....

While my sis moved where she did for the Quiet Life, it's no Red County in a Blue State - it went 51% to 47% for Kerry in 2004 - and if you walk a couple of blocks down the road, you'll find Safeway shoppers and staff who will go out of their way to help you, and who probably like their Jon Stewart and Olbermann, too. Bet they check out The American Street (they live on it), or FDL (where Jane is a p/t Oregon resident), too. I was stuck with Mrs. Miniver (literally - it was the featured DVD my last night there, no arguments - and fucking appalling).

As far as the old technologies went, I was able to finish books I had put off for months. See above for one of those. That was a joy, but I still felt penned - and is there anything worse than not being able to share jokes with someone you love, with whom you have a great fund of shared experience, and who now wants to hear only about what is comfortable and familiar, which does not include you? I made great friends with the cat, but both of us ended up pussyfooting around together, avoiding the tripwires.

So, finally, there was no trend to be found out there. The particular and the personal were the vivid things, and they can't be categorized, or be made to fit a scheme or a plot. I just hope I don't have to watch Greer Garson again, for a long, long time.

[Update/Second Thoughts - Weltschmerz Edition: Among other thrills, Tom Delay resigned during the 10 Days described above. I couldn't help thinking, under the circumstances, of all the delicious snark, all the sharp analysis, I was missing. I wasn't getting any from broadcasts; poor Mike Allen of TIME looked poleaxed (and fumbled for words) on the PBS Newshour - you'd have thought he'd lost a mealticket. It was Norman Ornstein who gave the story some structure, and quite unsentimentally {he must have some special dispensation from his robot masters to be insightful).
Once I was all moved in and reconnected, it took at least two or three days to catch up on the posts of the few dozen sources I read regularly. It's now two weeks from that day, and I'm finally feeling properly oriented. I also hang my head for complaining about anything after seeing Michael Bérubé's list of meds he was on last week - and he was writing, and posting...!
There will be a lit post tonight, on the wonderful Alan Hollinghurst. I'm not sure about the Google-y ads, but am willing to give it a shot - more on that later, too. ]

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mary Anne, and the luscious Ginger.... Posted by Picasa

Mary Anne, or Ginger?

It's that time of year again, and time to choose a Chosen One (you know, Rite of Spring, all that...). Let's all pretend we are Anne Baxter and we have to decide between Mary Anne and Ginger. My favorite teacher of maybe all time was named Marianne, so if I chose her it would be almost incestuous, and that's criminal in most states, so I'm a Ginger Boy.

Now it's YOUR turn.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Only a week away from full re-connection. Expect a flurry of postings (not least on the agony of being unplugged from my accustomed sources of is no wonder a third of the country persists in believing BushCo fantasies, if what reaches them through the airwaves alone is any evidence). Have much reading, of a literary nature, to report on, too - and that's balanced the isolation.

Cheers to all who've stuck with me - you will be rewarded very soon.

Update : Yeah, like - what, 12 days later? Sorry about that - it's been very goofy with the move, the re-settling and the General Chaos (and yes, that's a Butters reference....). More tonight..

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Choppers! Posted by Picasa

The Chattering

There's going to be a pause around here - and I mean a real one, not a merely lazy, distracted one - as I move and am attacked by dentists and oral surgeons (nice guys, but they are going to do phenomenal damage - though they might call it repair). I'm usually pretty good about this kind of stuff, apart from putting it off so long that it balloons into a major project. It's almost assured that my head is going to balloon a couple of times, and I probably deserve it. The finished product will be, however, dazzling. Perhaps not Martin Amis dazzling (or gruesome), but we'll just have to find out.

In the meantime, please check out the launch yesterday of And They Cook, Too - a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders. I have a couple of entrées in, and having reviewed the contents pre-launch, can vouch for the overall deliciousness - it's a huge boost for me to be included in company like this, as both writers and cooks. Once I get my kitchen reconstituted (and am able to chew), I'll be working on some new stuff. Friends, family, dinner guests - be warned!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To their right praise and true perfection! Posted by Picasa

How many things by season season'd are...

And here I interrupt. Got less than 36 hours before this long season is ended, and I don't feel well-seasoned at all for the next. There's the adrenaline-junkie side my most recent shrink saw, and then there's the antiquarian sensibility one of my school advisors saw; it's an odd kind of conflict. As often as I wanted to escape the fences patient care put around me, I will miss this house, this place, the routines Val and I made up - song and dance and patter - to give life a shape. I think we succeeded pretty well, certainly enough that when she left it, she wasn't leaving chaos.

For me, if it wasn't still unseasonably gloomy and damp out, I'd be dazzled by the light. I am dazzled, in fact, and for the time being must put up with it. It's Spring again, after all - just a little late this year.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Remember the Alamo! Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday [Week]

For res, and for all the other beloveds who hang out in the Republic. Arf! [see above.]

Florence Green is 81 Posted by Picasa

Up in the Air, Aloft

And, yes, that's an homage to Donald Barthelme. It's also how I'm feeling right now, suspended, and in suspense. There's a dentist appointment this afternoon. There is a sibling confrontation this afternoon. They are joined (take that, Jeffrey Masson!), and only in the afterglow of their unholy congress will I be able to take my bearings and figure out what needs to be done in the next ten days. A real 3-way.
I always loved tha opening of Snow White, where Snow and the dwarfs took lovely showers together, before the boys marched off to wash buildings and make Chinese Baby Food....
Où sont les neiges d'antin?

Now, back to editing The Journal of Sensory Deprivation.

See you this evening.

Friday, March 10, 2006


After last week's Decompression/Limbo Contest, the fun this week has been getting the jobs/housing/moving projects in gear (I am thinking of something resembling Howl's Moving Castle...) - and that's left little time for posts. This will be corrected this weekend.

On Wednesday, Noodley left for his new life, with a gift baggie of his toys, treats and bones, and our patient's two favorite small blankets (which, I assure you, he knows very well). Something familiar to burrow into. The farewell was dry-eyed, but warm - can't guarantee what will happen when I see him again, though. Reunions could be weekly.

Thanks to my readers for all the comments and mails these last two weeks - you are all golden.

[Update: Dropped in on Noodley Friday afternoon (he has a whole needlepoint shop to patrol now), and his sang-froid was remarkable - boy is not pining at all. His new mistress is a bit disconcerted by his aplomb - compared to more slavish canines, N seems to her inexpressive. She is also discovering his native dachshund stubborness. To me, he is looking comfortable, a bit miffed at all the changes in his life, but putting up with the inevitable. Good boy!

Having been sequestered with me and the Old Lady for such a long time, I am eager to find out how he responds to the society of the Dog Park - nearly 6 years old and never met a bitch in heat....hmmmmm. Late bloomer.]

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Never Underestimate Pooch Power.... Posted by Picasa


Time to come up for some air. It's very strange to have been suddenly let off the leash; 24/7 patient care forces you to accommodate to all sorts of personal restrictions, you get used to them, and, when they are removed (especially as you seek new gigs and digs), it's pretty disorienting. I still have a gigantic sleep debt, for example, and I have needed to make up at least a small part of that if I am going to run around like a maniac in the next few weeks, taking care of business.

Before all of that fascinating stuff gets fully underway, however, I have to pay tribute to my partner, the doggie who was here when I arrived, who became an ever more adept therapist, companion and friend throughout my tenure. I posted about him last year, and everything I said then is still true. I can happily add that he's gained new respect from his titular owners in the meantime. He's still stuck with the ridiculous name - Noodles - (where the hell did that come from? The DeNiro character in Once Upon a Time in America? I don't think so...) - but he will always be my Noodley.

As our patient got weaker and weaker, he became ever more attentive, warming her body, giving her morning kisses. He couldn't spend nights with her, but he spent most of every day, and after she died last Friday, he would run downstairs and post himself under her (now empty) hospital bed, or take a post at the front door, under the misapprehension that she was out for a clinic visit. Neither of us could immediately persuade ourselves that she was gone. When the baby-monitor was still plugged in and active, both of us leapt to attention if we heard a Val sound - "Let's go help Mom!" I'd say to him and we'd be off. Ten seconds and we'd be there. This past weekend I kept thinking I'd heard her, when that was impossible. He knew better, but he'd cock his head, anyway, when I'd turn mine, and he probably sensed when she intruded in my dreams, too.

He's been my buffer and teammate - a surrogate for the kind of emotional attachment with my patient that would have endlessly complicated doing my job. I cannot overvalue his contributions, or recommend highly enough the services of an intelligent, loyal, sensitive animal as a caregiving helper. So this is for Noodley. He's fully worthy of the Gromit pic, above.

[We watched Curse of the Were-Rabbit last weekend, and enjoyed it immensely!]

Friday, February 24, 2006

An End

Less than an hour ago, my patient died, in her sleep, and to all appearances at peace. It's a release from years of great physical pain, but we lose a very fierce spirit, an engaged mind, and more than 97 years of personal history. No posts for a couple of days, as things sort themselves out.

[Update: Thanks to all my friends/mates/buds who have commented, called, or mailed about this. You are true family - you're golden.]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Dine, for Val Posted by Picasa

A Fine Line

We are on the downhill here, and very far from Torino. My patient seems to be fading incrementally, visibly, each day, and the days can seem like weeks. She was lively (and rather combative) last Friday night/Saturday morning, then crashed. This was not unprecedented; periodic nightmares have destroyed her sleep over at least the last year, and while adjustments in her meds have moderated them, they haven't gone away entirely, and they are exhausting, for both of us. In the last couple of months, however, her body (at 97+) has stopped replenishing itself. Nothing catastrophic - everything still works, there is no raging disease - but it is not fighting so much anymore. It is hardly fighting at all.

If there was a single hallmark on the last 3 1/2 years, it's been the passion of my patient to defy the odds. Manifold arthritis and osteoporosis - longstanding conditions - made her glass-fragile. She took quite large amounts of morphine, daily, but maintained her lucidity and her interest in the world. We watched the 2004 presidential debates together, critically; she paid attention to American Idol on her own. Having been married to a lawyer, she loved courtroom shows, the more lurid, the better (a big Boston Legal fan, for instance).

I've rehabbed her through a knee break and a hip break/replacement - she got through both and was ambulatory (with a walker, and with close care from me) until very recently. The stamina went first, and that infuriated and depressed her. She likes giving orders, but she'd rather do it herself, and only recently has she relinquished her hold on her old determinations. If anything constitutes a fine line between holding to life and letting it go, that one must be signal. For a woman of such will, acquiesence is not a compromise, it's a defeat. I kept hoping it was an aberration, something passing. It seems not to have been.

You take care of a person - body and, to the extent that you can, mind - basically 24/7 for more than 42 months and you are invested in them, their health, their survival, their peace. On many more than one occasion my patient tried to mother me, and I had always to remind her that I already had a mother, and one was quite enough (they met once, finding each other adorable). But closeness and dependence and jockeying and setting boundaries (and seeing they are observed) tend to erode any pretense to pure professionalism - we've gotten on each other's nerves, entertained ourselves, given each other grief and delight. As much as you might want it to end, you also want to see it through. I'll be here until the end, and until the fine line is crossed.

[Update 1: The Sleeping Beauty revived somewhat this afternoon, which delights me, but also reminds me that this is going to be a roller-coaster for a while - and I truly hate roller-coasters (jerk you around, your glasses threaten to fly off, you puke...). I am sure her family will hate it all even more - they were unhinged on Sunday, and they may not be prepared for even temporary improvement. Unless your patient is alone in the world, you are caring for the entire extended family, and they don't necessarily want to admit that, or like it if they do admit. Aplomb, baby, aplomb.]

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Frivolity Pure.... Posted by Picasa

Quelle bonne surprise!

Almost tripped over the package yesterday (it had been laid at my door). I didn't have any outstanding orders that I knew of, and then I opened it and blessed Lance for the generous and - no doubt - instructive gift of Wodehouse, in 3 volumes. Catnip. man, and if any of you detect that style creeping into my posts, you will know whom to blame!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hey Mickey...Hey Mickey...!!! Posted by Picasa

The Moose in the Room, or Whatsamatta U

I was wandering through Peter Daou's Post Garden this afternoon and, fairly high on the Right Hedge, was an Andrew Sullivan link to something called, "Visceral Surface Revulsion," - and that was just too good to pass up, especially as the first word in the clip was Mickey. Andrew's is a pretty good post (I think he's often good on gay issues), but the Prize is a clip from an interview with Mickey Kaus in which - I am not kidding - he holds up a toy moose sidekick to back up his homophobia.

A good deal of the clip [it's about 10 minutes long] blathers on about possible evolutionary/genetic foundations for hostility to Teh Gay in order to justify MK's VSR, but I couldn't help thinking that he can't possibly have spent much - if any - time around real groups of gay men. As I subsequently said, in part, in a mail to Andrew:

"He's obviously lived a very gay-sheltered life, though, if he thinks gays don't reproduce - indeed, he seems to think we can't. I would certainly like to see some stats on the number of currently exclusively homosexual men who have a) at one point had str8 sex and, b) if so, how many produced children, in or out of traditional wedlock. My experience - and I am confident yours, too - would suggest that there are a lot of gay dads out there, and even more potential gay dads. It would only take one successful shot, after all, even in the spirit of exploration or self-testing, to transmit the dreaded gay gene to yet another generation. Maybe that's what's really creeping Mickey out. "

Because he is, you know, quite short....

I still haven't seen the movie in question, but there is an excellent Daniel Mendelsohn piece in the NYRB about it, which you shouldn't miss.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Vikings (who like Spam and Clean House)

That cryptic thing is on a again for a couple of hours - had an attack of spam from every House Cleaner in the world, apparently. I'll take it off when the thing passes.
Post later today on movies!

[Update: OK, going to take off the wraps and see what happens...]

[Update 2: ...and what happened is they were suppressed for a while, and then came back, inflating my traffic stats for no good reason. I have some stuff cooking and regular readers will, I know, be able to manage the Word Verification thingy if they are moved to comment. Give it a few hours and the spammers get enough bouncys and I'll take it off again. Go read Lance and FDL and TWN and The Rude One and all the rest of the usual suspects (see lefthand column) in the meantime.]

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Sentinels Posted by Picasa

Like Summer Tempests - Part 2

They had just finished their meal and resumed their armchairs, when there came a heavy knock at the door.

Toad was nervous, but the Rat, nodding mysteriously at him, went straight up to the door and opened it, and in walked Mr. Badger.

He had all the appearance of one who for some nights had been kept away from home and all its little comforts and conveniences. His shoes were covered with mud, and he was looking very rough and touzled; but then he had never been a very smart man, the Badger, at the best of times. He came solemnly up to Toad, shook him by the paw, and said, `Welcome home, Toad! Alas! what am I saying? Home, indeed! This is a poor home-coming. Unhappy Toad!' Then he turned his back on him, sat down to the table, drew his chair up, and helped himself to a large slice of cold pie.
Toad was quite alarmed at this very serious and portentous style of greeting; but the Rat whispered to him, `Never mind; don't take any notice; and don't say anything to him just yet. He's always rather low and despondent when he's wanting his victuals. In half an hour's time he'll be quite a different animal.'

So they waited in silence, and presently there came another and a lighter knock. The Rat, with a nod to Toad, went to the door and ushered in the Mole, very shabby and unwashed, with bits of hay and straw sticking in his fur.

`Hooray! Here's old Toad!' cried the Mole, his face beaming. `Fancy having you back again!' And he began to dance round him. `We never dreamt you would turn up so soon! Why, you must have managed to escape, you clever, ingenious, intelligent Toad!'

The Rat, alarmed, pulled him by the elbow; but it was too late. Toad was puffing and swelling already.

`Clever? O, no!' he said. `I'm not really clever, according to my friends. I've only broken out of the strongest prison in England, that's all! And captured a railway train and escaped on it, that's all! And disguised myself and gone about the country humbugging everybody, that's all! O, no! I'm a stupid ass, I am! I'll tell you one or two of my little adventures, Mole, and you shall judge for yourself!'
`Well, well,' said the Mole, moving towards the supper-table; `supposing you talk while I eat. Not a bite since breakfast! O my! O my!' And he sat down and helped himself liberally to cold beef and pickles.

Toad straddled on the hearth-rug, thrust his paw into his trouser-pocket and pulled out a handful of silver. `Look at that!' he cried, displaying it. `That's not so bad, is it, for a few minutes' work? And how do you think I done it, Mole? Horse-dealing! That's how I done it!'

`Go on, Toad,' said the Mole, immensely interested.

`Toad, do be quiet, please!' said the Rat. `And don't you egg him on, Mole, when you know what he is; but please tell us as soon as possible what the position is, and what's best to be done, now that Toad is back at last.'

`The position's about as bad as it can be,' replied the Mole grumpily; `and as for what's to be done, why, blest if I know! The Badger and I have been round and round the place, by night and by day; always the same thing. Sentries posted everywhere, guns poked out at us, stones thrown at us; always an animal on the look-out, and when they see us, my! how they do laugh! That's what annoys me most!'

`It's a very difficult situation,' said the Rat, reflecting deeply. `But I think I see now, in the depths of my mind, what Toad really ought to do. I will tell you. He ought to -- -- '

`No, he oughtn't!' shouted the Mole, with his mouth full. `Nothing of the sort! You don't understand. What he ought to do is, he ought to -- -- '

`Well, I shan't do it, anyway!' cried Toad, getting excited. `I'm not going to be ordered about by you fellows! It's my house we're talking about, and I know exactly what to do, and I'll tell you. I'm going to -- -- '

By this time they were all three talking at once, at the top of their voices, and the noise was simply deafening, when a thin, dry voice made itself heard, saying, `Be quiet at once, all of you!' and instantly every one was silent.

It was the Badger, who, having finished his pie, had turned round in his chair and was looking at them severely. When he saw that he had secured their attention, and that they were evidently waiting for him to address them, he turned back to the table again and reached out for the cheese. And so great was the respect commanded by the solid qualities of that admirable animal, that not another word was uttered until he had quite finished his repast and brushed the crumbs from his knees. The Toad fidgeted a good deal, but the Rat held him firmly down.

When the Badger had quite done, he got up from his seat and stood before the fireplace, reflecting deeply. At last he spoke.

`Toad!' he said severely. `You bad, troublesome little animal! Aren't you ashamed of youself? What do you think your father, my old friend, would have said if he had been here tonight, and had known of all your goings on?'

Toad, who was on the sofa by this time, with his legs up, rolled over on his face, shaken by sobs of contrition.

`There, there!' went on the Badger, more kindly. `Never mind. Stop crying. We're going to let bygones be bygones, and try and turn over a new leaf. But what the Mole says is quite true. The stoats are on guard, at every point, and they make the best sentinels in the world. It's quite useless to think of attacking the place. They're too strong for us.'

`Then it's all over,' sobbed the Toad, crying into the sofa cushions. `I shall go and enlist for a soldier, and never see my dear Toad Hall any more!'

`Come, cheer up, Toady!' said the Badger. `There are more ways of getting back a place than taking it by storm. I haven't said my last word yet. Now I'm going to tell you a great secret.'
Toad sat up slowly and dried his eyes. Secrets had an immense attraction for him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.

`There -- is -- an -- underground -- passage,' said the Badger, impressively, `that leads from the river-bank, quite near here, right up into the middle of Toad Hall.'

`O, nonsense! Badger,' said Toad, rather airily. `You've been listening to some of the yarns they spin in the public-houses about here. I know every inch of Toad Hall, inside and out. Nothing of the sort, I do assure you!'

`My young friend,' said the Badger, with great severity, `your father, who was a worthy animal -- a lot worthier than some others I know -- was a particular friend of mine, and told me a great deal he wouldn't have dreamt of telling you. He discovered that passage -- he didn't make it, of course; that was done hundreds of years before he ever came to live there -- and he repaired it and cleaned it out, because he thought it might come in useful some day, in case of trouble or danger; and he showed it to me. "Don't let my son know about it," he said. "He's a good boy, but very light and volatile in character, and simply cannot hold his tongue. If he's ever in a real fix, and it would be of use to him, you may tell him about the secret passage; but not before."'

The other animals looked hard at Toad to see how he would take it. Toad was inclined to be sulky at first; but he brightened up immediately, like the good fellow he was.

`Well, well,' he said; `perhaps I am a bit of a talker. A popular fellow such as I am -- my friends get round me -- we chaff, we sparkle, we tell witty stories -- and somehow my tongue gets wagging. I have the gift of conversation. I've been told I ought to have a salon, whatever that may be. Never mind. Go on, Badger. How's this passage of yours going to help us?'

`I've found out a thing or two lately,' continued the Badger. `I got Otter to disguise himself as a sweep and call at the back-door with brushes over his shoulder, asking for a job. There's going to be a big banquet to-morrow night. It's somebody's birthday -- the Chief Weasel's, I believe -- and all the weasels will be gathered together in the dining-hall, eating and drinking and laughing and carrying on, suspecting nothing. No guns, no swords, no sticks, no arms of any sort whatever!'

`But the sentinels will be posted as usual,' remarked the Rat.

`Exactly,' said the Badger; `that is my point. The weasels will trust entirely to their excellent sentinels. And that is where the passage comes in. That very useful tunnel leads right up under the butler's pantry, next to the dining-hall!'

`Aha! that squeaky board in the butler's pantry!' said Toad. `Now I understand it!'
`We shall creep out quietly into the butler's pantry -- ' cried the Mole.
` -- with our pistols and swords and sticks -- ' shouted the Rat.
` -- and rush in upon them,' said the Badger.
` -- and whack 'em, and whack 'em, and whack 'em!' cried the Toad in ecstasy, running round and round the room, and jumping over the chairs

`Very well, then,' said the Badger, resuming his usual dry manner, `our plan is settled, and there's nothing more for you to argue and squabble about. So, as it's getting very late, all of you go right off to bed at once. We will make all the necessary arrangements in the course of the morning to-morrow.'

Toad, of course, went off to bed dutifully with the rest -- he knew better than to refuse -- though he was feeling much too excited to sleep. But he had had a long day, with many events crowded into it; and sheets and blankets were very friendly and comforting things, after plain straw, and not too much of it, spread on the stone floor of a draughty cell; and his head had not been many seconds on his pillow before he was snoring happily. Naturally, he dreamt a good deal; about roads that ran away from him just when he wanted them, and canals that chased him and caught him, and a barge that sailed into the banqueting-hall with his week's washing, just as he was giving a dinner-party; and he was alone in the secret passage, pushing onwards, but it twisted and turned round and shook itself, and sat up on its end; yet somehow, at the last, he found himself back in Toad Hall, safe and triumphant, with all his friends gathered round about him, earnestly assuring him that he really was a clever Toad.

He slept till a late hour next morning, and by the time he got down he found that the other animals had finished their breakfast some time before. The Mole had slipped off somewhere by himself, without telling any one where he was going to. The Badger sat in the arm-chair, reading the paper, and not concerning himself in the slightest about what was going to happen that very evening. The Rat, on the other hand, was running round the room busily, with his arms full of weapons of every kind, distributing them in four little heaps on the floor, and saying excitedly under his breath, as he ran, `Here's-a-sword-for-the-Rat, here's-a-sword-for-the Mole, here's-a-sword-for-the-Toad, here's-a-sword-for-the-Badger! Here's-a-pistol-for-the-Rat, here's-a-pistol-for-the-Mole, here's-a-pistol-for-the-Toad, here's-a-pistol-for-the-Badger!' And so on, in a regular, rhythmical way, while the four little heaps gradually grew and grew.

`That's all very well, Rat,' said the Badger presently, looking at the busy little animal over the edge of his newspaper; `I'm not blaming you. But just let us once get past the stoats, with those detestable guns of theirs, and I assure you we shan't want any swords or pistols. We four, with our sticks, once we're inside the dining-hall, why, we shall clear the floor of all the lot of them in five minutes. I'd have done the whole thing by myself, only I didn't want to deprive you fellows of the fun!'

`It's as well to be on the safe side,' said the Rat reflectively, polishing a pistol-barrel on his sleeve and looking along it.

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. `I'll learn 'em to steal my house!' he cried. `I'll learn 'em, I'll learn 'em!'

`Don't say "learn 'em," Toad,' said the Rat, greatly shocked. `It's not good English.'

`What are you always nagging at Toad for?' inquired the Badger, rather peevishly. `What's the matter with his English? It's the same what I use myself, and if it's good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!'

`I'm very sorry,' said the Rat humbly. `Only I think it ought to be "teach 'em," not "learn 'em."'

`But we don't want to teach 'em,' replied the Badger. `We want to learn 'em -- learn 'em, learn 'em! And what's more, we're going to do it, too!'

`Oh, very well, have it your own way,' said the Rat. He was getting rather muddled about it himself, and presently he retired into a corner, where he could be heard muttering, `Learn 'em, teach 'em, teach 'em, learn 'em!' till the Badger told him rather sharply to leave off.

Presently the Mole came tumbling into the room, evidently very pleased with himself. `I've been having such fun!' he began at once; `I've been getting a rise out of the stoats!'

`I hope you've been very careful, Mole?' said the Rat anxiously.

`I should hope so, too,' said the Mole confidently. `I got the idea when I went into the kitchen, to see about Toad's breakfast being kept hot for him. I found that old washerwoman-dress that he came home in yesterday, hanging on a towel-horse before the fire. So I put it on, and the bonnet as well, and the shawl, and off I went to Toad Hall, as bold as you please. The sentries were on the look-out, of course, with their guns and their "Who comes there?" and all the rest of their nonsense. "Good morning, gentlemen!" says I, very respectful. "Want any washing done to-day?"

`They looked at me very proud and stiff and haughty, and said, "Go away, washerwoman! We don't do any washing on duty." "Or any other time?" says I. Ho, ho, ho! Wasn't I funny, Toad?'

`Poor, frivolous animal!' said Toad, very loftily. The fact is, he felt exceedingly jealous of Mole for what he had just done. It was exactly what he would have liked to have done himself, if only he had thought of it first, and hadn't gone and overslept himself.

`Some of the stoats turned quite pink,' continued the Mole, `and the Sergeant in charge, he said to me, very short, he said, "Now run away, my good woman, run away! Don't keep my men idling and talking on their posts." "Run away?" says I; "it won't be me that'll be running away, in a very short time from now!"'

`O Moly, how could you?' said the Rat, dismayed.

The Badger laid down his paper.

`I could see them pricking up their ears and looking at each other,' went on the Mole; `and the Sergeant said to them, "Never mind her; she doesn't know what she's talking about."'

`"O! don't I?"' said I. `"Well, let me tell you this. My daughter, she washes for Mr. Badger, and that'll show you whether I know what I'm talking about; and you'll know pretty soon, too! A hundred bloodthirsty badgers, armed with rifles, are going to attack Toad Hall this very night, by way of the paddock. Six boatloads of Rats, with pistols and cutlasses, will come up the river and effect a landing in the garden; while a picked body of Toads, known at the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance. There won't be much left of you to wash, by the time they've done with you, unless you clear out while you have the chance!" Then I ran away, and when I was out of sight I hid; and presently I came creeping back along the ditch and took a peep at them through the hedge. They were all as nervous and flustered as could be, running all ways at once, and falling over each other, and every one giving orders to everybody else and not listening; and the Sergeant kept sending off parties of stoats to distant parts of the grounds, and then sending other fellows to fetch 'em back again; and I heard them saying to each other, "That's just like the weasels; they're to stop comfortably in the banqueting-hall, and have feasting and toasts and songs and all sorts of fun, while we must stay on guard in the cold and the dark, and in the end be cut to pieces by bloodthirsty Badgers!'"

`Oh, you silly ass, Mole!' cried Toad, `You've been and spoilt everything!'

`Mole,' said the Badger, in his dry, quiet way, `I perceive you have more sense in your little finger than some other animals have in the whole of their fat bodies. You have managed excellently, and I begin to have great hopes of you. Good Mole! Clever Mole!'

The Toad was simply wild with jealousy, more especially as he couldn't make out for the life of him what the Mole had done that was so particularly clever; but, fortunately for him, before he could show temper or expose himself to the Badger's sarcasm, the bell rang for luncheon.

It was a simple but sustaining meal -- bacon and broad beans, and a macaroni pudding; and when they had quite done, the Badger settled himself into an arm-chair, and said, `Well, we've got our work cut out for us to-night, and it will probably be pretty late before we're quite through with it; so I'm just going to take forty winks, while I can.' And he drew a handkerchief over his face and was soon snoring.

The anxious and laborious Rat at once resumed his preparations, and started running between his four little heaps, muttering, `Here's-a-belt-for-the-Rat, here's-a-belt-for-the Mole, here's-a-belt-for-the-Toad, here's-a-belt-for-the-Badger!' and so on, with every fresh accoutrement he produced, to which there seemed really no end; so the Mole drew his arm through Toad's, led him out into the open air, shoved him into a wicker chair, and made him tell him all his adventures from beginning to end, which Toad was only too willing to do. The Mole was a good listener, and Toad, with no one to check his statements or to criticise in an unfriendly spirit, rather let himself go. Indeed, much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and the raciest adventures; and why should they not be truly ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The River Bank.... Posted by Picasa

From the Beginning

This site has always looked with particular affection on Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham's comic pastoral of English country life. My Dad read it to us when we were little, and I read it for my own pleasure years later (with pleasure much enhanced by admiration for it's beauty and wit), and I have read it to other kids since then. I sort of leaned on excerpts from it when I started this blog - Ratty was, and is, my signature character - were I an animal, he's the sort I'd like to be. My brother was very insightful when he started calling me RatBoy (for other reasons of his own), and it seemed a natural fit when it came time to brand this blog. I've never been sorry.

I've also thought, when I've posted excerpts from the book, that it provided counter-arguments - even some solace - to the vicious life we are so often now encouraged to lead. Ratty, Mole, Badger, the impossible Toad - all value sympathy and forgiveness, even when it cuts against their grain. I'm not trying to draw lessons from the fable, just hold up a small mirror, and compare. Ratty's love of his independence and neat arrangements; Mole's devotion to home and hearth; Badger's sense of justice; even Toad's guilt at having been an egotistical fool (which in itself will not cure him). Each is challenged and grows beyond himself by various trials. Admitting mistakes and then putting them right - redressing the balance - is one of the cores of the story.

So look for more excerpts - Toad has yet to wrest back his homestead, but he will do so with renewed humility (for about two seconds).

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy Year of the Pooch! Posted by Picasa

Taking It All In Posted by Picasa

Time Regained [Core Dump 6]

I walked into this room alone, looking, listening, speaking under my breath, took a cocktail. Must have been something tonic in it, to keep me going, and then someone listened, and stayed until I finished, and then introduced me to a partner, and we danced. That was lovely. She was blonde and had keen eyes. There was also a man, taller than me and - I thought, perhaps - even shyer, but he was kind and he put his arm around my shoulder and guided me to a bay of the great room where there was the most animated conversation. I was buzzed enough to join in - no one made me feel stupid.

I turned once and saw a man I knew enter the room - a grand welcome. I flushed, as I had met him before. and tried to hide it. He had a following - the girls ran to him in greeting, gowns like flowers gathering, separating. Kisses, and words, were exchanged, and the bouquet scattered again.

And what romantic bullshit. If only.

That was sort of my Berlioz version of opening the blogosphere. There are possible variations on Ben Hecht, on Almost Famous, maybe on Nicholas Nickleby and joining the Company of Mr. Vincent Crummles. Whatever the case, I didn't know what I was getting into, but I wanted to join the Circus. I won't let go now.

Looking back over this last year's posts, I'm surprised at how much I could write into the night not that many months ago. It's just a fact that the patient I look after has become markedly more fragile and less predictable over the last year, and so I can't count on as many secure and quiet hours to post - and I'm feeling very worn. This will only turn around when I move on from here, and that will not be dependent, I hope, on my patient's mortality. She'll be 98 in June, 2006, and I have every expectation that she'll make it. But, unlike new parents, the ward doesn't increase in affection and knowledge and powers, but diminishes and weakens and becomes ever more fey.

That's tough.

Right now, I just hope to get through the experience intact, and to be able to throw more weight to the crises we all face with our fucked-up government. I've tried not to add to the din I talked about in my very first posts - merely echoing positions and rhetoric I like. My impulse is to be wonkier than I have either the time or the energy to be, and it may not be such a good fit for my sensibility anyway. I still believe, however, that we are at a moment of crisis as a nation, and that we should bring everything we have to preserve and conserve the manifold, crazy, rude, snot-nosed, generous country we want to live in against those who pervert the language of liberty, democracy and freedom.

Fuck - I want to spit those last three out, they have become so debased in the mouths of Our Leaders; let's reclaim them before it is too late.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Beekcake Friday - Gentlemen Prefer Goats.... Posted by Picasa

Friday Night Beef

This is going up now, in part, because the weekend's Core Dump needs pride of place. Tuesday will be my first bloggy anniversary, and I want to look back over the last year, see what I caught, what I missed. The last couple of weeks have been exhausting, professionally, and I took today's time off just to recover, alone. Friends, haircut, will have to wait until next Friday.
Woofy guys, OTOH, should always be welcome.
See above....

Monday, January 23, 2006

Burping the Cyberbaby

I had hoped to get something solid posted tonight (and I may still), and then an antivirus update went all buggy on me and required a few hours of maintenance and trouble-shooting. God, I do not need two patients at once!
Moreover, my box and cable constitute about 80% of my contact with the rest of the world - family, friends, business, information - and the island would indeed be desert without them. Hope the colic disappears soon, certainly in time for the 1st anniversary of this blog next week.

More later, with luck....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

And Many Happy Returns! Posted by Picasa

A Pause for Beefcake...

While the Core Dump is not completed, it's Midniter's birthday over at RoD, so the pic above is for him. Cheers, baby!

[Update: In addition, I am hugely behind in updating the Blogroll - count Freedom Camp (run by the estimable teh l4m3) plussed. More will follow.]

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Let's Put on a SHOW! Posted by Picasa

[Not] Alone Out There, in the Dark [Core Dump 5]

I forgot about this. And it's important to anyone who cares about movies at all. The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., is having a fund drive, and I urge any and all of you to help them. Rep houses like the Brattle are a truly endangered species, and just about the only places, outside of college film societies, that we can go to for the movie past. Look at the Brattle's calendar this month - there's Werner Herzog, Antonioni, and the MUPPETS! Julian Barnes is there in February - c'mon, people!

Remember that babka in the Blogger Bake-Off last month? My consolation prize was movie tix and I asked that equivalent funds be contributed to the Brattle Fund instead. My nephew is in film school, has already started a production company, and one of my greatest pleasures is talking to him about stuff he hasn't seen - and that I wouldn't have seen either except for Doc Films and the Clark, the Aardvark, the Aero (my fave nabe), the Nuart - and the Brattle.

I am posting a pic, above, of that place. Not the world's best screen, not the most comfortable seats (it's a fucking barn, or was when I was last there...), and none of that makes the slightest difference once the lights go down and the genuine article is there before you. Some of my most thrilling moments at the movies have been in tiny lecture halls on screens designed for film strips and diagrams. The Brattle is the real deal, and I know I am not alone in this.

Go, give - Les enfants du paradis will bless you.

Breathless.... Posted by Picasa

America at 24 Frames/Second [Core Dump 4]

For a movie lover, this is soooooo hard! I think all such lists are. I like what Lindsay did with it (not for the first time).

To the unintiated, this is a list of 10 movies that could serve as a primer on America (i.e., the USA) to a visiting alien or some hermit who had, for personal reasons, missed the last 100 years of popular culture I've let it simmer for a few days and I'm still pretty happy with it, though there are personal favorites and movies I rate higher aesthetically that aren't on it. There is no particular order, and notes will follow.

Dr. Strangelove
Swing Time
The Lady Eve
Bonnie & Clyde
From Here to Eternity
Casualties of War
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Duck Soup
Long Day's Journey into Night

I link to each through IMDb as a default.

What would I hope my hypothetical innocent would take away from this list? First, I suppose, is that we are not a simple (at least not in the sense that our current leaders want us to be) people. We can laugh at very serious things, without not taking them seriously. We make up our beauty on the fly (and conceal the hard work). We prefer to tell the truth. We worry about where we came from, we're anxious about class (and are uncomfortable talking about it), we will gamble on the future (and know we might lose - i.e., we're essentially optimists).

And there's nothing monumental or triumphant about any of these movies, and that may be a flaw in the list, but I think it is closer to the American grain than the chest-thumping that's going on now, and why that will not last. We're just too revolting, and that's what I love about us.

Friday, January 20, 2006

All We Like Sheep... Posted by Picasa

Under the Mount [Core Dump 3]

A couple of days ago, Lance's Uncle Merlin posted a meditation on Brokeback Mountain. I sent him this comment:

For Uncle Merlin -
I haven't seen the movie, but I have read the story on which it is based. The text is making the rounds pretty aggressively, and that's good for an 8-year-old tale - it's robust, and it's powerful enough to explain why it would have become a project in the first place, and why it might move a broad audience.

Still, you and I have to take it more personally. It's about people very like us - as you say, "a living moment for me...I see scenes from my life and I can't stop looking back over my life." As isolated in mountain and plain (and driven, and brave and scared) as these two guys are, they are not that distant from your buddies in NYC, or mine in PDX. Word I was getting here was,"Good, not Great," which is fine with me as a critical judgment, but nobody was talking about much beyond that.

Let's face it. We are a minority, always have been and always will be, and this will make our lives difficult, no matter how tolerant the majority culture becomes. I came out late (and with great sighs of relief on the part of my dear straight friends - they'd been twiddling their thumbs for years), but doing so gave me some perspective on that, "Are you really gay?" question from my gay brothers who had announced much earlier. Well, yeah, of course, I can say, but are you trying to stereotype me, honey?

This can become a pain.

But it is nothing compared to the pain and joy of love, and there may have been more than the ordinary obstacles for gay men (I speak for no one else) to have overcome them. I have enough close straight men and women friends to know that the landscape of love and commitment and possible fracture are just as imminent for them as they are with us. If Brokeback Mountain resonates with them, that's why. What is not universal is how you and I got there, stumbled there, in the first place, and what the stumbling and struggling did to us - doubt, defiance, bravado - and that's just assuming no severe trauma along the way. And then maybe we got some perspective, some wisdom, some balance, and - hmm - still tipped over. Lots of very attractive, deeply insecure guys out there - just very bad for us.

Merlin, just do not give up hope on this score - and don't start adding saltpetre to your oatmeal.

BTW - I drove over some of that country when I moved west from Chicago - it is as spectacular and astonishing as Annie Proulx's list suggests:

"Years on years they worked their way through the high meadows and mountain drainages, horse packing into the Big Horns, the Medicine Bows, the south end of the Gallatins, the Absarokas, the Granites, the Owl Creeks, the Bridger Teton Range, the Freezeouts and the Shirleys, the Ferrises and the Rattlesnakes, the Salt River range, into the Wind Rivers over and again, the Sierra Madres, the Gros Ventres, the Washakies, the Laramies, but never returning to Brokeback."

Never returning. Moving on.

I see, today, at Wolcott's, more dismay and bile spewing because this fucking movie is looking like a success. I mean, if we want to see a couple of real gay cowboys, let's just go rent a DVD of Giant.

I mentioned in my comment above driving through the western mountains on a move from Chicago. I did not say anything about my encounter with sheep. That happened a few months later, on the last leg of my transfer to Los Angeles. My brother (the rock on whom I lean for big moves - just ask him...) and I were one day out from LA, had driven hard through a lot of rain, and we stopped in Tracy for the night. It's a town noted for its prison and for its confluence of highways.

We got a cheap motel after dinner, parked the van as the sun set, carried our gear to a second floor room. On the other side of the chain link that fenced the parking lot was a field, really, a meadow, and it was full of sheep. They all had numbers tagged on their sides (something I'd never seen, not being a country boy), and they were doing what sheep do - clump together, be dumb, and make lovely sheep noises.

Understand, I was throwing my life into the air at this moment, stepping into a void. As I went to sleep, those sheep voices in the evening dark seemed a benediction, had a real - if inchoate - music, and insofar as I could, I blessed them back. Just ask my brother.

A Quincunx for LM Posted by Picasa

5 Things, Perhaps Random, Perhaps Not...[Core Dump 2]

This is for BG, because she started this....(and, honey, this is what passes for pop around here...not my fault):
  1. "By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night. May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.

    After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am."
  2. `Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,' he said presently. `O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.'
  3. "...Penny said, "Was it Henry James you're working on?"
    "Er...yes," said Nick.
    She seemed to settle comfortably on that, but only said, "My father's got tons of Henry James. I think he calls him the Master."
    "Some of us do," said Nick. He blinked with the exalted humility of a devotee and sawed off a square of brown meat.
    "Art makes life: wasn't that his motto? My father often quotes that."
    "It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, for our consideration and application of these things, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process " said Nick.
    "Something like that," said Penny...."
  4. "But then oblivion dark, on all my senses fell. Again at length my thought reviving came, When I no longer found my self the same; Then first this sea-green beard I felt to grow, And these large honours on my spreading brow; My long-descending locks the billows sweep, And my broad shoulders cleave the yielding deep; My fishy tail, my arms of azure hue, And ev’ry part divinely chang’d, I view."
  5. "God will help me, I trust, to rid myself of any desire to follow the example of...other characters in this work. I shall continue to exist. I may assume other disguises, other forms, but I shall try to exist."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Parmesan...Sauce Tomate...Aieeeeeee!! Posted by Picasa