Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Crab Blogging

I swear I didn't make this up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Enhanced Interrogation


A fellow whose book picks I respect (hey, he's a book store) was going on about a late Victorian novelist named Maxwell Gray (and also here.) In particular, he mentions Gray's tome: "The Silence of Dean Maitland." Certainly the lead book in "The World's Greatest Books," which is a blockbuster to boot, should merit our attention. So, off to the Alibris book site I go and, low and behold, there are a bunch available. I order this vaunted gem and wait anxiously for its arrival. One day it comes. As with many Alibris books it is wrapped in brown paper (let's keep it anonymous, sort of like Playboy.) I hurry home after a hard day fighting back germs and curl up in my chair and unwrap this Great Book (sorry, Mortimer, your list is incomplete.)

Firstly, it is a dusty, dusky tome in a peculiar shade of quaint, olive green. While intact, it has clearly resided on the shelves of someone's study since coming home from the bookseller probably a hundred years ago. It was published by the F.M. Lupton Publishing Company in New York. "Of all the publishers of cheap books during the 1880s there were few to rival the cheapness of F.M. Lupton's productions." You betcha. There is no information at all after the front page. Opposite this page written near the spine is the observation "e good but a lot ex words." I assume this means "Pretty good, but a lot of extra words." I should have heeded  this sage observation.

Where ever one word would suffice, Maxwell Gray uses three. For instance, the opening sentence:
"The gray afternoon was wearing on to its chill close; the dark cope of immovable dun cloud overhead seemed to contract and grow closer to the silent world beneath it, and the steep, chalky hill, leading from the ancient village, with its hoary castle and church, up over the bleak, barren down was a weary thing to climb. "
 Whew! How about
 "The afternoon was wearing on to its close; the cope of immovable cloud overhead seemed to grow closer to the world beneath it, and the steep hill leading from the village, with its castle and church, up over the down was a weary thing to climb." 
I slogged on through this till I could go no more and was pulled down, down into the moist and evil quicksand that glistened all about me with the faint dewdrops of extra words.

But, I tried. And, then it struck me, what a clever thing this book was. If ever I was in possession of Vital Secrets, the plans for the battle, whatever, all they would have to do for me to confess all would be to strap me down and read me Chapter IV of "The Silence of Dean Maitland."


Of course the hooker is that Maxwell Gray is actually Miss Mary Gleed Tuttiett. It does have the same ring as George Elliot.


And, of course, I could not resist the money quote from page 41:
"Who shall say how far a man's will consents to his acts? added Everard,  musingly."

Monday, March 22, 2010


Congratulations to Barack Obama on the passage of the first step in reforming our broken health care system.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Crab Blogging

Crabs are starting to run; we seem to have gotten stuck on certain crayons; thank Gott they are not Prussian Blue!

Mr. Crabs, for we uninitiated, is a character on Sponge Bob Square Pants (the most insidiously banal TV show, apparently, that has ever come along, excluding the Gong Show.)

Now I couldn't resist this last one:

This is, apparently a "wine show"; I didn't ask mom, but I suspect that she has been checking out the local wine tasting events.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Internet Portrait

I will admit, I couldn't resist this (from an unknown source by way of here, here and here). I realize that it is probably copyrighted but I just felt that, what shall we say, risonanza.

The Direction of the Polity

I have given up trying to understand what is happening politically in the United States. One hopes that, no matter whatever developments are to come, we will survive the current turmoil. I suppose that back in the late '60's, when most adults felt that all hell was breaking loose, I would, as an adult, have felt pretty much the same way. (But as a young tusker, it was groovy). When your world is threatened, no matter whether it is the smug world of '50's consumerism and international hegemony or the, well, '00's world of consumerism and international hegemony, one tends to react, sometimes violently. But, it is still beyond me why the vast, relatively homogeneous, world of the American prolateriat, all those people who work in Exxon stations, Food Lions, Blockbusters, bowling alleys, McDonalds, "environmental" services, construction, landscaping, etc., seem to now reject any sort of change from the status quo. Ironically, it may be seen in the future as the almost spectacular success of the media machine dominated by Fox News.

The fact that many Americans believe such things as the viability of Sarah Palin as a presidential candidate, and question such things as the place of President Obama's birth, is a testament to media driven craziness. Americans have always liked flamboyant personalities. At least Huey Long  had some credentials. But Joe the Plumber and, particularly Glen Beck, are personalities of an entirely different order.

Perhaps I am making too much of this. Perhaps I should be more sanguine. After all, my country has made it this far with lots of stresses including a bloody Civil War. But it seems that the hub of all this, the machine that is Washington, D.C., has, to use an euphemism, suffered a spanner in its works. If you think Health Care is broken, and it is, trust me, then that human collection inside the Beltway is really in trouble. This will all come to a heady crux over the next week when the Democrats try to get the Health Care Reform bill passed. I am not sure what the odds are, Jimmy the Greek would know, but they can't be good for its passage. (I didn't realize that JTG had passed away in 1996.)

What then? Well, one group of "lawmakers" will have demonstrated that they have potent spanners. This is the same group that used to believe "What is good for General Motors is good for America." Not. The problem is that once having governed by hurling spanners, where do you go from there? Is it any wonder that less than one out of five Americans trust their Congress. Elections next fall should be interesting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

I had to reach back in the archives for today's (actually, yesterday's) crabs. I think we will go back to using a pen instead of crayons. It is hard to get the colors to saturate.

P.S. Where did Noah keep his bees?

Ans: In the Ark Hives.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

No crabs today. Just a fish:


P.S. Busy, busy busy. Please excuse.