Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A spectral Two-for-Tuesday

1.) Here is a game Hilary taught me last night:
Look into the mirror.
Stare into one eye.
Say (or think) Bloody Mary thirteen times.
Switch off the light, close your eyes, and wait for the face of Bloody Mary to appear.
2.) Flaubert:
And Emma started laughing, a ghastly, frantic, desperate laugh, fancying she could see the hideous face of the beggar rising up like a nightmare amid the eternal darkness.
3.) From a thaumatrope:


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kaplan's Wittgenstein Meme II: Leaves of Grass

(The meme is explained here.)

I’ve been cruel to Walt Whitman, but I’m beginning to think that Leaves of Grass is pretty good. I bring back from tonight’s skim-through a selection of marginal notes from a class a couple of years ago. The notes are in italics; transcriptions of the professor’s in-class comments are labeled “Jean Carr.”


Jean Carr: attitude pose; not going to name himself; outdoors & ready to look at you

…he sees eternity in men and women…he does not see men and women as dreams and dots
you gotta rethink dreams and dots!!

Leaves of Grass

I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
alternate first lines: I celebrate by myself. I misspeak myself.

loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine crotchvine?

A child said, What is the grass? […]
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, or Pantagruel

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Jean Carr: kind of gothic, surreal [This is the sort of thing she’s say that wouldn’t necessarily be earth-shattering for anyone else, but would be so well matched to the deep thought-shapes of my brain that the words seemed not to issue from a source outside myself, nor even to be words at all. I’ve tried to write about this before.]

[The runaway slave] staid with me a week before he was recuperated and passed north,
I had him sit next to me at table….my firelock leaned in the corner.
Jean Carr: And the wallpaper was nice.

It provokes me forever,
It says sarcastically, Walt, you understand enough….why don’t you let it out then?
Hey Carl, you understand enough. You’ve got these forms in you so

Encompass worlds but never try to encompass me
the imperative of the Peace Zone!!!

To be in any form, what is that?
cool question!

Behaviour lawless as snow-flakes
snowflakes lawless?

I am the teacher of athletes
Mr. Whitman,
I got alot out of the lesson where you flew through the Kosmos THANKS

A riddle:
I teach straying from me, yet who can stray from me?
I follow you whoever you are from the present hour;
My words itch at your ears until you understand them.
Who am I?

I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four
Jean Carr: It’s like, 24-7!

Animals recently seen

A friend and I saw the following animals on a late-night music drive through Durham and Newmarket, NH: MOUSE, FROG, DEER, SNAKE, and BAT. We were listening to an extended jam on Dark Star from a Dead show at Rotterdam Civic Hall, May 11, 1972.

On a late-night bike ride in College Woods, we saw a family of RACOONS and heard a howl that was probably a COYOTE’S.

Biking in Hallowell, ME, I saw a GREAT BLUE HERON on a pond and a RABBIT running in a ditch.

TURTLES, DRAGONFLIES, and a KINGFISHER were among the animals seen by me, Hilary, and my brother at Viles Pond (a.k.a. Vile Pond) at the Pine Tree State Arboretum in Augusta, ME.

Hilary and I drove to New Hampshire in separate cars, but we saw the same EAGLE.

A GOLDFINCH, a symbol of Christ’s resurrection, disappeared into bushes along Portland’s Eastern Promenade.

A MOCKINGBIRD sat in a pitch-pine on the Saco Heath.

SNOWY EGRETS, SANDPIPERS, and CORMORANTS flew over the Scarborough Marsh.

A PURPLE FINCH was resting on a tree outside our kitchen window.

There was a CRAB in a tide pool in Biddeford, ME.

Friday, August 19, 2005

All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Art camp


Hilary learning fresco at Skowhegan

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fire on the mountain

Readers may have already surmised, either from an earlier post or from the generally psychedelic bent of Fort Kant, that I'm a fan of the Grateful Dead. Lately I've been checking out recordings from the Grateful Dead archive at www.archive.org, which contains a *lot* of Dead concert recordings (including multiple versions of some shows, if the master tapes are importantly different).

On this Two-for-Tuesday, the 10th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death, I offer two performances of "Fire on the Mountain" from 1977, the year the Dead started playing that song and, many argue, the year they were at their peak. "Fire on the Mountain" is not so much a song as a two-chord opportunity to explore the mixolydian mode, and in these recordings, Jerry turns it inside out.
1.) March 18, 1977, Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA

2.) April 23, 1977, Springfield Civic Center, Springfield, MA

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Another means of egress

John is reading and thinking about French novels. I think I've only read one—a pretty substantial one—but I've read enough of Madame Bovary to put together a two-for-Tuesday. My preoccupation with descriptions of objects may be familiar to some readers. Here are two objects from the early pages of Flaubert's book:
1.) His was one of those composite pieces of headgear in which you may trace features of bearskin, lancer-cap and bowler, night-cap and otterskin: one of those pathetic objects that are deeply expressive in their dumb ugliness, like an idiot's face. An oval splayed out with whale-bone, it started off with three pompons; these were followed by lozenges of velvet and rabbit's fur alternately, separated by a red band, and after that came a kind of bag ending in a polygon of cardboard with intricate braiding on it; and from this there hung down like a tassel, at the end of a long, too slender cord, a little sheaf of gold threads. It was a new cap, with a shiny peak.

2.) At dessert [the pastry-cook from Yvetot] brought in with his own hands a tiered cake that made them all cry out. It started off at the base with a square of blue cardboard representing a temple with porticoes and colonnades, with stucco statuettes all round it in recesses studded with gilt-paper stars; on the second layer was a castle-keep in Savoy cake, surrounded by tiny fortifications in angelica, almonds, raisins and quarters of orange; and finally, on the uppermost platform, which was a green meadow with rocks, pools of jam and boats of nutshell, stood a little Cupid, poised on a chocolate swing whose uprights had two real rosebuds for knobs at the top.

Monday, August 01, 2005



Wildflower lore II

Mrs. William Starr Dana, author of How to Know the Wild Flowers: A Guide to the Names, Haunts, and Habits of Our Common Wild Flowers (1893), quotes Thoreau in her discussion of the Pitcher-Plant/Sidesaddle-Flower/Huntsman's-Cup:
In an entry in his journal one September, Thoreau writes of a certain swamp:

"Though the moss is comparatively dry, I cannot walk without upsetting numerous pitchers, which are now full of water, and so wetting my feet;" and continues: "I once accidentally sat down on such a bed of pitcher plants, and found an uncommonly wet seat where I expected a dry one. These leaves are of various colors, from a plain green to a rich striped yellow or deep red. Old Josselyn called this 'hollow-leaved lavender.' I think we have no other plant so singular and remarkable." And November 15th he finds "the water frozen solid in the leaves of the pitcher plant."