Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday commute c: Transit camp ticket still to punch

   In every parameter, this page
   is an offspring of the twenti-
   eth century. How well one has
   always savoured any opportun-
   ity for rebellion, I think is
   plain enough in the entries
   already presented here. While
   rmbl remains active, the in-
   stinct of that lark must revel
   in something better than sur-
   vival in false security. 

   The transit camp is the signa-
   ture domicile of the previous
   century, and it is appropriate
   for the 100th saturday commute
   to pay it credit. The 21st is
   not a century to put the past
   into boxes, not that this had
   ever been possible, as much as
   we may sense incentives for it.
   Nor was the 20th a century of
   gratuitous bailment to the past.

   The uprooted: politically, re-
   ligiously, intellectually, sex-
   ually, racially, geriatrically,
   financially, industrially, fam-
   ilially, linguistically, eth-
   nically, militarily, epidemiol-
   ogically and criminally are un-

   To carry forward is not to look
   back; to draw upon learning is
   not to cringe. Such is the ed-
   ucation of our transit camps,
   proliferating always internally
   as well as throughout the fur-
   thest reaches of dry land, not
   as nodes of topicality but as
   stations of conception, ubiquit-
   ous, hungering to dissolve in
   native peace if not of soil. The
   lark ascends above the stroke of

Gérard, whom we do, actually, all like

Although much quieter and more calm, than a fellow one could take for a Virginian, Gérard transparently means well, and I don't mean only in the harmless, and certain-ly not in the reticent sense. His willingness to embody a drapery where one may be missing, for example, has mitigated countless visions of our world which may have imparted an ambient impov-erishment, somewhat more starkly than the gaze could bear. It's true, he sometimes inspires the attentions of an ankle-nipping puppy in this way, but on market days he is much in demand, for this very reason. The farmers in their stalls, too, are glad for the decoration, and the shopper's eye becomes more generous.

Benoni Loos

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wyatt went off to the Argentine, bagged a gaucho

We interrupt our investiga-
tion of scowls in deference
to Friday's natural prefer-
ence for the happiest news.

James Wyatt, our leader of
school from Mike at Wrykyn,
had been sent down by his
own hopeless step-father,
into a clerkship in the
dankest bank in the City;
Wodehousians will know, 
he shared this fate, also,
or possibly we'd have had
to read terribly good trans-
lations of Classical histor-
ies, his métier, instead of
the restive inventions of
timeless, not to say incur-
able, youth. With all of
Wrykyn, Mike was sorry, and
then a lamp flickered in a
nascent socket of his soul,
and he remembered that his
father owned enormous swaths
of Argentina. Couldn't Wyatt,
a very noble shot for Wrykyn
and also of cats by air-gun 
in the garden by moonlight, 
justify a turn on the pampas?

What a happy Friday it was,
at Mike's breakfast table as
the post arrived from Buenos
Aires, relating how Wyatt had
subdued a gaucho poacher with
a nifty shot to his ankle, af-
ter taking one for the family
firm, in the shoulder. As with
his air-gun and the cats, no-
body seemed to have been hurt
very much, and naturally a fel-
low needs to expect a few in-
dignities sometime, as an as-
pect of leading the school.

Dashed inconvenient, though,
if the gaucho's nicks should
have kept him from the Somme,
as his age now would keep him
from Fallujah. Bad enough, to
have missed Belfast, if it came
to that. This was 1909; and for
our eternally oblivious scribe,
it stayed that way. One hasn't 
the heart to regret it. There's
plenty else, not to mention our
est taste for agony; but there
match his abundant innocence.

P.G. Wodehouse
Mike at Wrykyn
op. cit.

iv  Mathias Lauridsen

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scowls i

     The mail was not light,
     on the alignment offer-
     ed in the previous ent-
     ry, of Lachowski's pro-
     file in reptile, juxta-
     posed to a reference to
     Samuel Johnson. One saw
     irony as merry or not,
     depending on viewpoints
     beyond anyone's control.

     These divisions in the
     readership recall the
     enigma of scowls at a
     certain age - an expres-
     sion mastered studiously
     and yet of almost indis-
     criminate application.

The spirit of jest is innate, but such is the irony in blog-ging that a deference to the convention of illustration threatens to deprive the ironic style of its happiest latitude, sometimes. The moderating of irony is not an art or a science, but a device available to homogeneous communities of taste - clubs, schools, cliques, and certain professions. Here, the process is reversed, as indulgence is pleaded over time as the shaping of a community of wickets left standing. From an age represented serviceably in these portraits, one responds to Dr Johnson's irony sharply, but with highly uneven warmth. The temperature struck by Haydn, in the same vein and time, was fortunate in its medium. 

Although Haydn was as adroit as anyone could wish, in irony's play with expectations, he undeniably benefitted from a neo-professional syntax which, if unmastered, can all but conceal semantic play. Otherwise, irony is simply vulnerable to the supply of good will which may or may not linger still beneath the scowl of affectation, however hoary its custom. A good friend wrote, à propos of the Federal ruling in Oklahoma, my generation .. smiles when each victory comes, and generally wishes the fight would hurry up and be done. One shouldn't wish to be post-ironic, however, with the scowl surviving. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Philosophe malgré lui

  Have you noticed, how
  the genius of our day
  has already made Dr
  Johnson seem ridicul-
  ous, for spanking? I'd
  like to subscribe to 
  a flaw, equally silly
  in its way, in celeb-
  ration of a guy of whom 
  Geoffrey Wheatcroft has
  observed, He is read by
  people who read every-
  thing, and by people
  who read no one else.

But this is not why,
rmbl is glad. It's be-
cause he is ditzily
harmless when he is
wrong, and arrestingly
unforgettable when not.
He has what it takes
to be trusted by keen
and vital skeptics.
He has the imprimatur
of Orwell, and Evelyn
Waugh. But what need?
His soul is steeped in
playing fair; and this
will always rally a row.
It isn't merely, dourly,
that all may play. It's,
rather visionarily, that
we will.

        Anyone who knows the public schools,
        their iron-bound conservatism, and,
        as a whole, intense respect for or-
        der and authority, will appreciate 
        [this], even though he may not ap-
        prove of it. Leaders of men are rare.
        Leaders of boys are almost unknown.

P.G. Wodehouse
Mike at Wrykyn
The Overlook Press, 2011©

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jacobite in January

Our peripatetic Joe Collier,
can you stand it, has allowed
Zegna to swath his limbs in 
deconstructed Lindsay, amidst 
the gauntlet of jobbers and
scribes whose rôle in life
is to subject the unknowing 
to envy. I've always thought 
it a little exotic, that they 
couldn't settle for desire.
But there you are: once more 
into the breeches, and we all 
know exactly who's going to 
survive this sweet travesty.

                  His horse he ordered to wear
                  their shirts above their buff
                  jerkins, in order that they
                  might be distinguished from
                  the enemy .. He had shown him-
                  self able to adapt his few re-
                  sources to any emergency, and
                  to rise superior to any misfor-
                  tune. For the moment he was the
                  undisputed master of all Scotland.

John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir
The Marquis of Montrose
Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1913©

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Clichés that never made sense, or even decent pictures

  Oh, you know the one:

  He's just like you or I,
  he puts his pants on,
  one leg at a time.

  Well, I don't know that
  I can recall, right off
  the top of my head, how
  I do put my pants on. I
  think I might be giving
  myself a lot of credit,
  if I could. Yet, I'd be
  prepared to bet a round
  of Perrier, there are a
  few practitioners whose


On the whole, naturally, one prefers not to look. Can anyone really say, he has any wish for half the information, garbled into cliché, flowing in and flowing out, such as how Governor Christie is placed into trousers? This is not the least of the dreadful-ness of cliché, which really does have certain virtues, but likening everyone to everyone is not our nattiest uniform.

Real men make real photo-graphs, on the other hand, is suspect only to the degree that not every man deploys the requisite device, innocently anatomically, almost.