Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday commute cxxiv: The pristine causeway

Anybody else
want to know
who's behind

Now, you could see how he might have jumped to the wrong conclusion if somebody had yelled, “Hey, the pope thinks you’re not acting like a Christian!” while he was walking into McDonald’s for lunch. (He really likes McDonald’s. Thinks they’re clean. I refuse to follow that thought any further.)

Gail Collins
The New York Times
19 February 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

May we count on Donald Trump, do you imagine?

Peter launched an assault on the 
coasts of Sweden, even raiding
Stockholm, itself, persisting un-
til the new king sued for peace,
agreeing a treaty at Nystadt. On
4 September 1721, five days after
the peace had been signed, a eu-
phoric Peter disembarked at the
Peter and Paul Fortress, prayed
in church, reported to Prince-
Caesar Ivan Romodanovsky and then,

mounting a dais, toasted the weep-
ing and cheering crowd, who were
offered pails of free alcohol as
cannon fired salvoes... This was
the start of two months of party-
ing. At the wild wedding of the
new prince-pope, 'Peter-Prick'
Buturlin, to the young widow of
the old one, toasts were drunk
out of giant goblets shaped like
male and female genitalia, the
groom was tipped into a vat of
beer and their wedding night was
spent in an al fresco bed on Sen-
ate Square.

Like you, like anyone, I should
be vaguely curious to know if 
our potentate-in-waiting has tak-
en the necessary preparations for
palliating his mob in its obscure
appetites. Although, in a show of
fellow-feeling, he may feign their
anguish for the surreal, it is on-
ly fair to ask, before perfecting
that elevation by the ballot, that
his hideousness has cowed every ri-
val into conceding by emulation,
how many virgins he is willing to
march to the precipice of his pyr-
amid, and beyond, to that impotent
thrill he'd pay anything to exalt.

Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Romanovs 
  1613 - 1918
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016©

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xix: Flux or faucet?

            Who left the faucet running? By the time
            it was over, thousands of hectares had been

I think there is a reason why
this series is as popular as
the more cheeky Suppose it 
were Friday and Saturday com-
mute, and it is sufficiently
captured in this illustration
to spare us all, further ar-

The pursuit of philosophy is
so far from being an act of
escape, or evasion, that its
aesthetic dimensions are pos-
sibly more to blame for such
denunciations than, unfortun-
ately, its progressive poten-
tial. It is true, as a fine 
translator has been cited al-
ready for saying, that people
can read Nietzsche for pleas-
ure. But it is also a progres-
sive suggestion to read for
that purpose, because the ex-
pansion of happiness is its

We do not resolve to take no
pleasure, in the degradation
of public discourse in Amer-
ica. We observe that it's in-
escapable. Those dialogues 
are mired. This doesn't turn
one to the pursuit of phil-
osophy. It simply fails to
interrupt that pleasure fur-
ther. Tomorrow will not be-
long to seduction, but to

John Ashbery
Quick Question
  The Fop's Tale
Harper Collins, 2012©

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I hear people out there, reading Whitman to each other

       When's the last time
       one could stop a pin
       from dropping, with-
       out letting it land?