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Jeremy's journal

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

— Sir Francis Bacon

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Friday, October 31st, 2008

🦋 What a lovely picture!

via The Wooster Collective comes news that artist Alëxone has launched his own web site, I had never heard of Alëxone before but am anxious to find out more. Beautiful images, strongly reminiscent of something but I'm not sure exactly what.

posted morning of October 31st, 2008: 1 response
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🦋 Unsuccessful Menu Planning

So I had this dream last night in which I was hosting a dinner party. My food strategy was to go to a dealer in prepared food, and buy roasts of beef -- several of them, I think I probably bought one roast for each guest. Then I realized I needed a side dish so I picked up a little take-out container of mac and cheese.

Got home and I started carving up the beef. It was taking a long time, and I realized the dish of mac and cheese wasn't going to be enough, so I made a container of instant mac and cheese to supplement it. Also I thought a vegetable would be nice so I opened a jar of pickles, and sliced some rich cheese of some kind for an appetizer.

Somehow everybody had arrived and was at the table, so I served them plates heaped with roast beef. Forgot the mac and cheese which I had left warming in the oven, and the pickles and cheese never made it to the table either. Everybody liked the roast beef but there was way too much of it, and people drifted away to other things... I have a clear memory of asking Sylvia if she liked the dinner and her saying she did, so it was not a total failure I guess.

posted morning of October 31st, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Dreams

🦋 Happy Hallowe'en!

A fine day for trick-or-treating, here in NJ anyways. Pet uploaded a huge mixtape of scary songs. Kate Beaton has had a festive week of posting, with dancing skeletons, a headless horseman, and the Flying Dutchman -- this last in particular is hilarious. Enjoy!

(Boy, this is an exciting weekend! -- starts with Hallowe'en, then you get the end of Daylight Savings Time, and to top it all off on Tuesday we elect a new president! Not to mention, on Saturday Steve Lehrhoff is playing at The Crossroads.)

posted morning of October 31st, 2008: Respond

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

🦋 Gobblers

Chapter 4 of The Golden Compass: Sylvia and I are both, separately, trying to figure out why the Master sends Lyra off with Mrs. Coulter, who is obviously a Bad Guy. Sylvia laid out her hypothesis to me:

Sylvia: Dad? What is that thing the Master gave Lyra? What did he say it could do?

Me: The Alethiometer you mean? He said it was a machine that would tell her the truth.

Sylvia: ...I think it's going to tell her that she's a Gobbler. He knows it and he wants it to tell her.

Me: Hm, that sounds like it could be...
(A minute later) If he knows though, why doesn't he just tell her?

Sylvia: Because she would probably just refuse.

That's a good thought. I also am working on an idea where maybe Mrs. Coulter's kid-stealing activities are actually benign, or serving a greater good, and we've been misled by the children's talk of Gobblers. The distinction between Good Guys and Bad Guys is not as clear in this book as in most of the other stuff we've read before. But I think Sylvia's idea is probably closer to right.

posted evening of October 30th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about His Dark Materials

🦋 Translations

In his playlist today, Dave Barber includes a recording of Caroline Bergvall reading the first stanza of the Inferno, in every English translation found in the British Library.

I've assembled a playlist of Bergvall readings so they're all in one place. You can download it from (Click "download folder" to get all tracks zipped, for a faster download.) The tracks are:

  1. "The Host's Tale"
  2. "The Summer Tale"
  3. "The Franker Tale"
  4. "The Not Tale"
  5. Inferno, first stanza
  6. "Mont Blanc", by Percy B. Shelley
  7. "Pervaded with that ceaseless motion": a reading of "Mont Blanc" in collaboration with composer Mario Diaz de León.

A note about her Chaucer project can be found in issue 32 of Jacket.

posted morning of October 30th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Inferno

🦋 Worst campaign

Over at History Time, jfruh asks the question: Was McCain 2008 the worst presidential campaign in history? And answers "No," but has to go back to the Whigs of 1836 to find a worse one.

Also at History Time today, a bit of Jersey history.

posted morning of October 30th, 2008: Respond
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Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

🦋 In Hovering Flight: author chat

Joyce Hinnefeld is conducting an author chat over at LibraryThing, from today through November 12th. ("Chat" is kind of a strange name for a two-week exchange of messages...) You will need to be logged in to view it. (Link via She Is Too Fond Of Books....)

In the chat, Joyce links to a playlist she created to go along with In Hovering Flight.

posted morning of October 29th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about In Hovering Flight

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

🦋 Enthusiasm and diffidence

I worked at a BlueWave NJPAC phonebank event this evening, calling voters about the election. I have a hard time doing stuff like this -- I find it pretty easy to put on a happy, friendly voice and chat to the person I'm calling as long as I don't have to make any actual argument, but I can't see what good that does. (The whole event was dedicated to calling registered Democrats in Montclair, which it's hard for me to see what the point of doing that is. So I didn't have to make much of an argument, but it was hard to see myself as doing something useful to the campaign.)

Most of the people I talked to (I probably made about 100 calls or a bit more, and spoke to about 25 people?) were enthusiastically supporting Obama and the Democratic ticket -- one guy was not so enthusiastic about Lautenberg but planned to vote for him because there is no alternative; a few people said they were voting a straight Democratic ticket but didn't know or care much about the people on it below the presidential candidate. Several people did not want to talk. One woman said she was concerned about voting for Obama because of his plans to redistribute the nation's wealth -- I engaged this for a while (not particularly well I think -- see above about making arguments -- but earnestly) until she brought up Jeremiah Wright, at which point I hung up on her. Not sure what her game was but it was not honest inquiry.

They are having the same event tomorrow but I think I will skip that -- I see on Thursday there's a phonebank event in West Orange to call swing voters. Maybe I will go there. But I'm not sure, based on doubting whether I can do a good job at it.

posted evening of October 28th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Politics

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

🦋 Fixed a bug

Thanks to commenter RedRum for finding a bug in my comments code and telling me to fix it -- I put in a quick and easy, but hacky, fix; maybe will think about figuring out a more fully-featured solution.

posted evening of October 26th, 2008: Respond
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🦋 Iberian lit.

Before the movie this afternoon, Ellen and I swung by Montclair Book Center. Ellen picked up Anne of Green Gables, which she has been wanting to read with Sylvia. I went looking to see if they had cheap used copies of any Saramago titles that I haven't read, and found The Stone Raft; and while I was browsing through the used books I found something I'd never heard of before but that looks interesting: Fortunata and Jacinta, by Benito Pérez Galdós (tr. Agnes Moncy Gullón, 1986) -- a weighty 19th-century novel set in Madrid. I'm looking forward to reading it -- the first couple of pages are good reading -- and speculating that it may give me some background for Saramago and other modern Iberian novelists.

A nice passage, from the end of the first chapter. The narrator is describing how Juanito Santa Cruz changed from an avid reader and thinker in college to an anti-intellectual adult:

Living was relating to others, enjoying and suffering, desiring, hating and loing. Reading was artificial borrowed life... He claimed that the difference between these two ways of living was like the difference between eating a chop yourself and having someone tell you how and when someone else ate it, making the story a really good one of course -- describing the expression on the person's face, his pleasure from chewing the meat, his satisfaction upon swallowing it, and then his placid digestion.

posted evening of October 26th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Fortunata and Jacinta

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