Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanza 4

Your advice on whether/how to improve this stanza is more than welcome. I suspect it’s one of the weakest.


‘My hat!’ At once, Rodion clutches
His topper (old, of German make). The toque that totters atop his hair.*
The drunk’s passed, but his jibe still touches
A nerve: ‘An amateur’s mistake! A nerve. It sparks an awful scare:
This brimless, tall, lopsided chimney-
pipe’s a clue! — It could condemn me!
Some sot would spot it, miles away,
Would notice as I passed… that day
Would notice… Talk… Give testimony — !
It’s always small things men forget
That bring their ruin and regret…
Just so…. This hat could have undone me!
… I’ll wear some cap, some… “average” hat
The day that I go through with… that.’

The Grand Inquisitor rendered into an Onegin Stanza

Christ came, and seen by all Seville,
distracted good folk from feeding sticks
to a hot fire under an iron grill,
where lay well-done, screaming heretics.
Amidst His miracles passed the Roman
Catholic cardinal, erect gnomon
to His shadow, Grand Inquisitor,
finger pointed at the visitor.
“Is it thou? Be silent! Off to prison!
For fifteen hundred years, we ate bread
blessed by thou. Really now; the dread
spirit of dessert supplies the frisson
de plaisir
we require. Enough tricks! We
prefer fire, crackling and whistling. Dixi!”

Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanza 3

Chapter 1 continues. Constructive criticism of the writing would be helpful. Destructive criticism might be fun.


Past bridges, markets, intersections,
He lurches at an urgent pace
And marks of his dark introspections
Are marring his fine youthful face.
In Petersburg’s dank underbelly
(Packed thick with humans, humid, smelly)
He navigates a nasty maze
And shoots a darting, dark-eyed gaze
Right through a thousand fellow Russians —
Each wretched body bears some stamp:
Pickpocket, peasant, peddler, tramp —
Past migrant Finns and Poles and Prussians….
A drunk now points, and hurls a shout
At Rodya’s head: ‘Nice hat, you Kraut!’

Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanza 2

More of Crime and Punishment à la Pushkin.

If you read, please feel free to critique.


Although his clothes are all a motley
Old crazy quilt of rag and patch,
Down here, nobody eyes him oddly:
In this poor neighborhood, they match.
He’s in arrears to his landlady.
(He dodged her on the stairs.) He’s prayed he
Won’t be forced by fate to meet
Some former classmate in the street.
‘Raskolnikov!’ the fool would holler,
‘At last! What happened? Don’t pretend
You haven’t time to talk, old friend.
Here, let me help a fellow scholar….’
The fancied friendship makes him sick.
He strides the sidewalk triple-quick.

Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanza 1

For some reason, a close personal frenemy of mine has decided to adapt Crime and Punishment into Onegin sonnet-stanzas. The first stanza of this (inadvertent?) double insult to 19th-century Russian literature is below.

Gluttons for Punishment may click here for subsequent stanzas.

Please criticize candidly.

That deed is done — if I but dare it…
That thing I can’t stop thinking of!’
So thinks, as he slinks from his garret,
One Rodión Raskólnikov.
His head is light; his stomach rumbles
As down the dingy stair he stumbles
Into the muggy summer throng.
Anonymous, he’s swept along.
The sunset oozes out a bloody
Light that stains the steamy streets,
And Rodion’s own blood now beats
To force his fevered brain to study
What banes his every waking thought:
‘How shall I execute that plot?’

Attached Earlobes and Free Will

Paul Bloom discusses what it’s like to have attached earlobes and how the condition may impinge on free will:

I have a genetic condition. People like me are prone to violent fantasy and jealous rage; we are over 10 times more likely to commit murder and over 40 times more likely to commit sexual assault. Most prisoners suffer from my condition, and almost everyone on death row has it. Relative to other people, we have an abundance of testosterone, which is associated with dominance and aggression, and a deficit in oxytocin, associated with compassion. My sons share my condition, and so does my father. more

See also The MURG Attached Lobe Study

Today in Damaging the Brand

Oh, Hugh Hefner’s son, don’t you know that because of who your father is, you represent everything he worked so hard to achieve:  a world where men and women could finally just get it on and get along, without all those hangups?  You can’t go doing violence to women, especially when those women are former Playmates of the Year. 

Gone Moviegoin’

Sheesh.  And we call ourselves bloggers.  Suffice to say that the conference was a great success.  Passed this joint on the way to Willie Mae’s Scotch House.  Good fried chicken.  More anon.  Maybe even video!

My submission for Binx casting

Glenn Ford has the no-place/someplace conundrum going for him in a way that Mr. Peck never could.

In any of his films, his lodestar is his being in despair without knowing he’s in despair.



Wisconsin man peels back Onion to its obsolescence


I don’t understand how reality keeps scooping the boys from Madison (perhaps because they moved to New York?), but this one is especially painful for being in their old back yard…

Occurring right at the end is what could possibly be considered the money quote to end all money quotes:

“I’m not the smartest guy, but this is going to be my journey,” Dan said. “Just a guy learning and growing with fragrances.”


Room in Heaven

Son of Sam Doesn’t Want Out of Jail Because of Jesus

Separated at Ontological Self-Realization?

A one Mr. Mike Austin seems to think so.

Contemporary Pals (With Apologies to Ol’ Possum and Brer Rabbit (Ez Po)) from “Quia Potter Amavi”

I. Mr. Potterax


Mr. Jonathan Potterax, the owner of a loud guitar
                                    and of large dog,
A “green” and a stacker of volumes, has married
                                    at the age of 28,
He being at that age a virgin,
The term “virgo” being made male in mediaeval latinity;
          His poetic reveries
Having driven his wife from one consumer excess to another.
She has abandoned the Land Rover
For it was lacking in vehemence;
She is now the high-priestess
Of a modern and ethical Tupperware party,
             And even now, Mr. Potterax
           Does not believe in plastics.


His brother-in-law has taken to photographs,
But the sister-in-law of Mr. J. Potterax
Objects to filterless cigarettes.
In the parlance of Jackie Mason:
“80% of men cheat in America…the rest cheat in Europe”;
And thus the empire is maintained.

II. Mr. O’Brienax

When Mr. O’Brienax visited the San Diego area
His whiskered whisky dripped among the teacups.
I thought of Lickona, that shy figure among the eucalyptus-trees,
And of myself in the shrubbery
Gaping at the lady in the swing.
In the palace of Mrs. Phlato, at Professor James Fortunatus Dixon’s
He twitched at the lips like a freshly hooked coelacanth.
O this twitching was submarine and profound
Like his old man hooch’s
Hidden under a rock beside the above-ground swimming pool which hadn’t been cleaned for months,
Where worried bodies of drowned bottles drift down in the green silence.
Shooting back three or four fingers of the stuff,
I looked for the head of Mr. O’Brienax lolling in a chair
Or grinning over a screen
With bits of tobacco and rolling papers in its hair.

I heard the roar of a big machine
Two worlds and in between
Hot metal and methadrine
I heard empire down
In fact, I heard the beat of Mr. Andrew Eldritch’s clever allusions
Over the dinny confusion of the Glas pax
As my dry and passionate slant-6 devoured the afternoon silence.
“He is a charming man”–“But after all what did he mean?”–
“His red nose and red eyes … He must be unbalanced,”–
“There was something he said that I might have challenged.”
Of dowager Mrs. Phlato, and Professor and Mrs. Dixon
I remember dried-up pimento stuffed olives
Resting at the bottom of empty conical stemware.

Attached Earlobes and Criminal Tendencies

A new double-blind study released today by Korrektiv’s Made Up Research Group (MURG) reveals a significant correlation between attached earlobes and behavioral pathologies. It is a commonplace of human anatomy and genetics that attached earlobes are a recessive genetic trait and that free earlobes are a dominant trait. The recently completed MURG study shows that those with recessive attached earlobes are twice as likely than their free-lobed counterparts to commit acts of anti-social, sociopathic, or criminal behavior. Based on its findings, MURG has proposed that the attached lobe (AL) population be registered in a national database and monitored by the Department of Homeland Security.