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‘the kitten games of syntax and rhetoric’

He [i.e., Lactantius] delighted in writing, in the joinery and embellishment of his sentences*, in the consciousness of high rare virtue when every word had been used in its purest and most precise sense, in the kitten games of syntax and rhetoric. Words could do anything except generate their own meaning.

–Evelyn Waugh, Helena (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012), Nook edition, chap. 6, p. 8.

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Anecdote of the Guitar

Click me.

Click me.



Resolutions should be painful
Otherwise they wouldn’t require you to be resolute, they’d only require acquiescence, like all the activities that lead to resolutions, you know, activities that are, shall we say, gainful
So that now your middle
Resembles a fiddle
Of the bass variety
And contra propriety
Announces your entrance into rooms before you’ve even entirely arrived
So that your wife starts in eyeing you like maybe she’s considering becoming unwived.
So you wait for January 1
To come and end your fun
And resolve to start slow so as not to overdo it
Because at your age, the thing about pain is you can’t always play, walk, run, or jog through it.
But far more discouraging than the next-day soreness that wracks you
Is the fact that your dog is so confused and upset by the sight of you getting down on the ground to attempt a sit-up that it goes and attacks you.

Korrektiv Dream

I had this dream last night: I’m staying at a lodge or country inn somewhere. Bunk beds. Quin is there. The rest of the Korrektiv gang, with spouses, children, etc., are somewhere nearby. The scene changes. We’re going to mass and it’s a lesser-major feast day. Pentecost or something. It seems we are in Walla Walla now and the location of the church feels like that of St. Paul’s Episcopal (but it’s Catholic) and the church feels like some other church I’ve been in, or possibly only dreamed about, in the past. The altar is in the middle, surrounded by sections of pews arranged around it at right angles. It’s crowded. I’ve got my wife and kids and a passel of others including twin boys (possibly twin, possibly not, it doesn’t matter) reminiscent of the twins on “Suite Life on Deck.” The boys are perhaps thirteen or fourteen. They’re acting out, horsing around, causing a commotion. After a couple of minutes, I lose all patience and grab one of them roughly by the lapels, whisper threats, cause an even more embarrassing scene. Big Jon Bully and his entourage show up and settle into a pew on the other side of the altar. My youngest daughter sees them and excitedly scrambles over, right through the middle of the altar servers and other official sacramental personnel making their preparations for Mass to begin. It begins. I wake up.


Angelico Nguyen Likes This.


Park No Park


Revision of a revision

Y’all and Me

You, Webb, are a warm front
that moved in from the north (by way of California),
a blind spot bearing beautiful gifts; and
Quinn, you’re a garden in the air for sure,
Seattle Sub specie aeternitatis with tendrils dangling down.
Angelico, O.P., would you deny you are a golden L.A. filament
inscribed with the name of God’s hunting dog?
Southern Expat, ye be, unmistakably,
a magic Georgia heirloom mistaken for a Texas feather duster;
JOB, obviously: a fountain in a Wisconsin cow pasture
is what you are, spouting Wisconsin poetry constantly;
and Lickona the anachronistic anagram
annoyed by anonymity, the dollar in the pocket
of a New England winter coat in San Diego summer.

And me? I am the discoverer of y’all.

What I’m Listening to in the Car

Great episode of This American Life, particularly Act II — about Emir Kamenica, the mysterious Miss Ames, and the fascination of how points of view and memories about the same experience can diverge. It’s one of those episodes you sit in the car listening to long after you’ve pulled into the driveway. (Side question: why does sitting in the car in the driveway increase the pleasure of the listening experience?) Plagiarism plays into the tale, and there’s an entertaining personal anecdote on that topic by the interviewer (Michael Lewis: Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side,) at the outset. Stick with it beyond that into the main story, though. It’s well worth listening until they succeed in tracking down Miss Ames and getting her take on the remembered events.