Archives for December 2011

Kickstarter Korner

when you need to blow
off a little angry steam
a haiku can help

Today in Waugh

No, not that Waugh.  His brother, Alec.  Actually, there is rather a bit about Evelyn, but the piece itself, by former New Yorker theater critic Brendan Gill in his late-in-life memoir A New York Life:  Of Friends and Others, is about Alec.

I am perhaps overly fond of reading harsh things about people of whom I suspect I am overly fond.  Evelyn Waugh, for example.  To wit:  “Everyone who knew [Alec] was quick to say how unlike his brother Evelyn he was, and this was intended to be perceived as a compliment, which indeed it was.  For Alec was charming and kindly and without, as the British say, ‘side,’ while Evelyn was a viperish and pretentious snob.  Alec was content to be an upper-middle-class Protestant; Evelyn would have liked to be a member of the ancient Catholic gentry.  Lacking that (to him) enviable ancestry, he produced an imitation that deceived no one and cost him much of his humanity.”

Oh, it goes on.  “[Alec] mocked the devout Catholic that Evelyn had become, pointing out that he wasn’t so devout as not to have perjured himself with regard to his first marriage in order to obtain the blessing of Holy Mother Church upon his second.  The church frowns upon a man’s having two living spouses; because a divorce has no standing in the eyes of the church, a marriage must be annulled, and the usual grounds for securing an annulment are, or used to be in the Waughs’ time, notably embarrassing – impotence, madness, malformation of the sexual organs, and so on.  ‘At Evelyn’s urging, I, too, p-p-perjured myself at the annulment hearings,’ Alec told me once.  ‘Evelyn had me lay it on good and thick…A whopper or two to help my saintly brother cost my conscience nothing.'”  Life is complicated.

Now back to Alec, and now for the fun part.  “All his life, he was mad about women; he married several times, and had scores of mistresses over a period of fifty years.”  Yes, yes, and?  Well, Alec liked to stay at the Algonquin when he was in New York, which was rather a lot.  From there, he would venture out to various wonderful places for lunch – he was handy with an anecdote.  “Still,” writes Gill, “I came to suspect that perhaps the happiest portion of Alec’s day had already been experienced by the time he turned up at one or another of his clubs and began to hold his companions spellbound.  this happiness was linked to another establishment on West Forty-fourth Street, only a few hundred feet from the Algonquin:  the turn-of-the-century Hudson Theater, which at the time I am speaking of had fallen on hard times and was no longer being used as a legitimate theater.  It had been reduced to showing movies, and not ordinary movies…

“In old age, his once hectic sex life reduced to a jumble of delectable if no longer accurate memories, Alec took comfort in attending these pornographic movies.  The first show at the Hudson began promptly at 11 a.m., and Alec arranged his schedule accordingly…One was tempted to hail him, old friend that he was, but no – he had an important appointment, and nothing must cause him the least delay in keeping it.”

One might, if one were a certain sort of awful person, take a certain measure of amused bemusement in the notion of such a tidy arrangement of one’s libidinous life, of words like “promptly” and “comfort” being applied to matters pornographic.  I am not intending the least sort of blasphemy in saying that it sounds rather like worship – heading down to Our Lady of Perpetual Availability for the reliable gratification of that imagined communion…


I guess it’s true what they say:  Happy people don’t write.

Happy Boxing Day

You take a K-O like a Knock Out ...

You’re KO, I’m KO …

Foote to Percy – Merry Christmas!

“Man, Christmas really hit me wrong…A hell of a Christmas; I don’t care if it never comes again.” – 26 Dec 1952

“Christmas, humbug.  It broke up a long stretch of work.” – 30 Dec 1957

“There went Christmas; good riddance.” – 19 Jan 1970

“Lord God, here comes Christmas.  Rackafrax, from start to finish except for the turkey and stuffing and giblet gravy; that I like.  There used to be some sort of movement for putting Christ back in Christmas.  Absurd.  It couldn’t be done.  He wouldn’t fit.” – 11 Dec. 1973

SPECIAL BONUS CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM UNCLE WILL – “God, Christmas was awful as usual.”

“Merry Christmas; or rather, by the time you get this, congratulations for having got through it.  Bah, humbug, I always say, and I say it more fervently with every year that passes.” – 24 Dec 1977


Speaking of creating reality…

More here.

Merry Kristmas, Kollektiv and Korrektiv Korrespondents!


Winner of the 2011 Best Obscure Movie Tie-in, in Saecula Saeculorm

Bestweekever has the complete deets.

But what’s funny is – I distinctly remember the cover of my eighth grade health book showing a picture of Mirjana Karanović and Miki Manojlović holding hands.

The Second Coming Coming Soon?

In today’s Daily Beast, an offhand mention in Stephen Farber’s review of Pina might catch the eyes of Walker Percy fans. (Of whom many surely must also be Wim Wenders fans, nicht wahr?)

“For years he has been hoping to make a film of Walker Percy’s novel, The Second Coming, and it may actually come to fruition soon.”

Wow! Wowie wow wow wow. (Stole that from Quin who stole it from Christopher Walken.)

Sermon of Snow

The fallen snow pales to blue as the sun
Burrows beneath the bear-rug of winter
Now draped across the hills – these woods, profiled
And barren, twist and pinch exhausted rays
Through a tined labyrinth of tiny branch work.

The deadened light disturbs the scheme we call
The world – and December’s candid blanket
Becomes a fazed sheet of gunmetal –
The twilight glows a pallid negative
And our own capabilities come to doubt:

“We live as if our hunger were a sin
Because our sins are hunger without end.”
I set the blaze, imagine the last,
And know the sun has lost its place in time
Though calendar and clock endure the cold.

“If man were ever meant to love, it would be
Not in some future time, nor in the past;
The heart is made for the present tense alone.”
Clocks don’t say that; snow and shadows do,
And we respond as silence does, “Amen.”

This fire’s angles are all wrong, although
Its heat rejuvenates this house of bones…

So many windows is too much to see –

Why did we wait until the first snow fall
To bless ourselves?

and there are doors yet to close

Alan Jacobs on Christianity and the Future of the Book

Articles by Alan Jacobs are always worth reading, and I think I’ve enjoyed this one from the The New Atlantis more than any other.

Consider, for instance, the variety of writing technologies discernible just in the Old Testament: the “brick” on which Ezekiel is commanded to inscribe an image of Jerusalem (4:1), the “tablet” used by Isaiah (30:8) and Habakkuk (2:2), the stone on which the Decalogue is inscribed (Ex. 24:12, Joshua 8:32). The styli used by Isaiah (8:1) and Jeremiah (17:1) may have been used to write on metal. Clay tablets were kept in jars (Jeremiah 32:14) or boxes (Exodus 25:16, 1 Kings 8:9). But the Scriptures themselves, it is clear, were typically written on papyrus scrolls and kept in cabinets.

And then along came the codex, compared to which even Gutenberg’s newfangled printing device was technologically something of an afterthought—Codex 1.1, if you will. So the question now is: What do all these iPads and Kindles portend? All in all, just another brick? Or is there something more revolutionary afoot? What will be required of this generation?

Read the whole thing here.


Grandfather:  “What do you have to do to get to heaven?”

Second Daughter:  “Die.  And pray.”


Just what you’ve all been waiting for:  another installment of Lickona and a Jew talk Christmas.

Round One:  Positively Irenic!

Round Two:  Grumpy, Grumpy, Grumpy.

And now, Round Three:  A Jew’s Favorite Christmas Movies.

Foote to Percy, 1949.

“Pushed, you’ll admit that doubt is a healthy thing, closely connected with faith; but you won’t follow it.  I believe that truth lies beyond and I’m willing to step into the mire…because I know I’ll find what I’m after, on the other side – beyond.  You draw back…I seriously think that no good practicing Catholic can be a great artist; art is by definition a product of doubt; it has to be pursued…I said once I didn’t think God would be hard on writers.  We are the outriders for the saints; we go beyond (where they won’t go) and tell them what we’ve found.  If we burn for that, we’ll take pride in our burning, our pain; the triumph won’t be God’s.”

Ὁ Αὐτοπέτρος

αὐτοῦ: μηκέτι τοῦδ᾽ αὐτοπέτρου
βήματος ἔξω πόδα κλίνῃς. – Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (192-193)

We had in mind no poet’s praise nor wreath
In racing to the tomb. (This angler bears
No athlete’s art, except at pulling oars!)
With gaping mouth, though, John would yield his youth
To age’s privilege. Or was it faith?
My older wisdom gives me pause to parse
That day – the empty tomb confirmed, the course
Resolved that death would break its bedrock oath:
With neither earth nor water there beneath
My feet, I’m hogtied to wood, and steel secures
The victory. So Nero’s circus stirs
To life – my head goes swinging underneath;
The post beam finger-figs the sky. Its curse
Reveals the path that once more takes my breath!

Well now, looky here…

Them thar godless libruls at NPR done reported on the cleared path to canonization for Kateri Tekakwitha.  Cain’t find a link, but I done did heard it on the wireless while I was driving my horseless carriage.

Chesterton at the end…

Hitchens and Martin Amis, aka, JOB and Lickona in their better and worse daydreams.

Ian McEwan recalls visiting Christopher Hitchens in the hospital during his last days:

The next morning, at Christopher’s request, Alexander and I set up a desk for him under a window. We helped him and his pole with its feed-lines across the room, arranged pillows on his chair, adjusted the height of his laptop. Talking and dozing were all very well, but Christopher had only a few days to produce 3,000 words on Ian Ker’s biography of Chesterton.

Whenever people talk of Christopher’s journalism, I will always think of this moment.

Consider the mix. Constant pain, weak as a kitten, morphine dragging him down, then the tangle of Reformation theology and politics, Chesterton’s romantic, imagined England suffused with the kind of Catholicism that mediated his brush with fascism and his taste for paradox, which Christopher wanted to debunk…

Up from Spamments

Invective: Spam*

“Wow gold cheapest wow power leveling under the internet’s best site!”
-spam message

…duas tantum res anxius optat,
Spamem et circenses.

Each wonderful wizard of oz. and lb. lives to be wow
Of the moment, hawking reality paltry as fool’s to real gold.
The low roads go yellow bric by yellow brac, so the cheapest
Way to diffuse the truth is first to buy up stock in this wow power
And then dismantle common sense, thereby utterly leveling
All true distinctions with distortion and burying them under
Circus clichés that mold our daily bread – the internet’s best
Illusion: fishing for infinite variety from a single site.

*I am to swearing I never not making these up things out of scratches. I’ve had this one in my bunker mental for a good good awhile – I think I may be have even more posted it to Body of God at one timely. But I thinking it to have been be a worthy follow up sniffs good to Mr. Potterman’s posted it.


Friday Mailbag: I need you to be poetic

From: [Rev Dave]
Date: December 16, 2011 10:19:49 AM GMT
Subject: I need you to be poetic

Dear sirs,

I am a blog writer of no apparent note. Every time I write a post and publish it, I receive spam. The english in these spams is clearly produced by the people who brought us the english translations we find in the box along with (name your own appliance) that has been made lovingly in China.

For example: “I am impressed with this internet site , rattling I am a big fan”.

Now perhaps they really are so overjoyed I am writing these thoughts that they actually vibrate in a holistic way. Or perhaps they are a yet undiscovered sect of poets whose genre we have never seen in the post printing press world. I am kind of hoping it is the latter.

I think this is one area we should not let the chinese steal a march in. Could you write a haiku that would both praise the blog writer while at the same time saying nothing?

I wait your answer with the intention of rattling when I read it.

Rev Dave