Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Link Of The Week

I have often believed that book dust contains a brain toxin that slowly makes people crazy in a particular way. If you have met a lot of used book dealers, you probably know what I'm talking about -- anecdotal evidence suggests that the longer you hang around old books, the nuttier you become...

And so I refer you to today's SITE OF THE WEEK:

The main point is that, looking carefully to the mechanism of dust accumulation on the books and the way it transfer to our respiratory organs; makes the case of books dust special and needs new revision.

The new findings reveal that the problem is beyond our current knowledge about dust mite or allergy and asthma due to dust. The health damage is more serious than we would want to ignore because of economical concern. This problem is of concern not only to librarians but anybody who keeps books at home or deals with books. We clean everything carefully in the house except books. The study shows that, long time exposure to books dust can create many illnesses like lung cancer, heart attack, allergy, asthma, skin problem, depression etc. This site is created to sensitize the public for taking action against this serious health hazard.

This is the result of two entire years working for days and nights. I did this for the love of people and science. I did my best. I did my part. I cannot do anything alone. I now need your help and support.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The spirit of the place / as dogma, the heart / I cannot cite

I first learned the word orthoepy when Keith Waldrop, at the San Francisco Poetry Center in 2003, held up a placard, in lieu of reading the word aloud, when his poem contained it, on which the word was spelled:

Jacob Delafon locates the word orthoepy, meaning the “correct pronunciation of words.” The Word seems to him unpronounceable.

Two years later, at a library sale, Tyler Carter came across a copy of that grand old book: The Orthoepist: A Pronouncing Manual, containing about three thousand five hundred words, including a considerable number of the names of foreign authors, artists, etc., that are often mispronounced, by Alfred Ayres. Some months afterward, forgetful that we already had a copy in our household, I checked another copy of the same book out of the same library. We stayed up late that evening, drinking ouzo and discussing pronunciatory varietals until our own slurred speech rendered all one. “Dude,” I said, “The more things change.”

I am sometimes fond of a radio show on which the host likes to say

These are troubled times we live in. There are some strange things happening out there.

in response to almost anything. I once grew accustomed to arguing with Jenn Guitart about the need to distinguish between Dawn and Don, or lack thereof. When I recorded her own pronunciations and played them back to her, she could not say which were which. But later I found this map:

Whereas today I found, on my desk, a copy of Alfred Ayres’ later (1883) book, The Verbalist: A Manual, devoted to brief discussions of the right and the wrong use of words, and to some other matters of interest to those who would speak and write with propriety, which states quite clearly on page 109:

“However, my dear James, let this strong and striking instance of the misuse of the word it serve you in the way of caution. Never put an it on paper without thinking well of what you are about. When I see many its in a page, I always tremble for the writer.”
Jeopardize. This is a modern word which we could easily do without, as it means neither more nor less than its venerable progenitor to jeopard, which is greatly preferred by all careful writers.
Just going to. Instead of “I am just going to go,” it is better to say, “ I am just about to go.”
Kids. “This is another vile contraction. Habit blinds people to the unseemliness of a term like this. How would it sound if one should speak of silk gloves as silks?”
Kind. See POLITE.
Knights Templars.

Mencius, whose philosophical attitude is not entirely unlike that of Alfred Ayres, says this:

If prevented by statutory regulations from making their coffins in this way, men cannot have the feeling of pleasure.

Erle Stanley Gardner, who likewise enjoys rationalizing death, presents the following image in The Case of the Screaming Woman:
“A ray of black light,” Mason said. “It’s fixed so that, when they swing one of their cars in the driveway, the garage doors all open....”
“But, Chief,” Della Street said, “doesn’t that make the garage vulnerable to any prowler or--?”
“They can undoubtedly turn a switch on the inside of the house and shut this mechanism off,” Mason told her. “The fact that it’s been left on indicates they intend to be back within a short time.”

Embleme XXXIIII of The Theater of Fine Devices, containing an hundred MORALL EMBLEMES, a facsimile of the unique copy of the book of emblems published by Richard Field in London 1614 and now in the collections of the Huntington Library starts with the motto
Some that in knowledge diue most deepe
know least from hurt themselues to keep

, continues with a crude etching of a bird falling, belly up, from a tree, and concludes with the following verse:

The Nightingale hath such a daintie note,
No other bird the harmonie can mend;
Sometimes to sing she straineth so her throte,
That therewithall her song and life doth end.
Eu’n so likewise some students do so dote,
When others do their prose and verse commend,
      That to attaine vnto more perfect skill,
      With studying too hard themselues they kill.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A tendency to show upward when drilled I

What if I were tell you a fairy tale?
The Old Witch might wander through the night
in search of an ending, only to find her role
in this story had never really been worked out.

It would be interesting to see from a study of their works, what idea the various artists had not only of Agnes’ character, but of the kind of death she died; unfortunately this would take far too long.

For the same reason, I cannot cite all the poets; for that reason, and for another too, which is not to their credit: it is rare that Agnes has inspired anything very good.

Will I ever be able to say “Today it writes,” just like “Today it rains,” “Today it is windy”? Only when it will come natural to me to use the verb “write” in the impersonal form will I be able to hope that through me is expressed something less limited than the personality of an individual.

And for the verb “to read”? Will we be able to say “Today it reads” as we say “Today it rains”? If you think about it, reading is a necessarily individual act, far more than writing. If we assume that writing manages to go beyond the limitations of the author, it will continue to have a meaning only when it is read by a single person and passes through his mental circuits. Only the ability to be read by a given individual proves that what is written shares in the power of writing, a power based on something that goes beyond the individual. The universe will express itself as long as somebody will be able to say “I read, therefore it writes.”

This is the special bliss that I see appear in the reader’s face, and which is denied me.

A very old man who had sung in Rabbi Shmelke’s choir when he was a boy, used to tell this: “It was the custom to lay out the notes for each text, so that it would not be necessary to fetch them when the praying before the pulpit began. But the rabbi paid no attention to the notes and sang utterly new melodies which no one had ever heard. We singers fell silent and listened to him. We could not understand from where those melodies came to him.”

“We think we smell with our noses [but] this is is a little like saying that we hear with our earlobes,” wrote Gordon Shepherd, a neuroscientist at Yale University.

Explorer: Don’t forget the knee cap. That’s missing in the arm.
Camel: I wonder if I have knees in my arms?
Explorer: This gentleman had good-sized feet for his height. Look at the length of these bones.
Camel: How firm a foundation!
Helper: Who’s mumbling in his beard now, Professor? Well, now that we’ve got him, what are we going to do with him?
(Enter Genii)
Genii: That’s what I’d like to know.
Explorer: Who are you?
Helper: Where did you come from?
Camel: I thought it was about time for you to show up.
Genii: This is Can’t-Believe-Your-Eyes-or-Ears Oasis. I’m the spirit of the place.
Helper: Does every place have a spirit?
Genii: Of course. Isn’t there an American spirit?
Helper: Why, yes, I guess there is.
Genii: And school spirit?
Helper: I hadn’t thought of that.

For the heart he put it as dogma: the heart dances in the line. Where the intellect shapes. In this concept of a syntax where there is no duality of body and spirit, the organic forces are reflected in the counterpoint of the poem. There is no “body” as there is in closed-form poetry to be inhabited by the spirit of the poem — as a sonnet is inhabited by the poet’s. Projective verse is a process. The poet practices it as a science (there is no duality between science and art, knowing and creating).

1 - Jonah Winter. The Continuing Misadventures of Andrew, the Headless Talking Bear. Lincoln, NE: Octopus Books, 2006.

2 - Louise Andre-Delastre (tr. Rosemary Sheed). Saint Agnes: Child-Martyr (Your Name Your Saint Series). New York: Macmillan, 1962.

3 - Italo Calvino (tr. William Weaver). If On A Winter's Night A Traveler. New York: Harcourt, 1981.

4 - Martin Buber (tr. Olga Marx). Tales of the Hasidim: Early Masters. New York: Schocken, 1966.

5 - Alexander Tsiaras. Body Voyage: A Three-Dimensional Tour of a Real Human Body. New York: Warner, 1997.

6 - Frances W. Butterfield (ill. Dorothy M. Weiss). From Little Acorns: The Story of Your Body. New York: Renbayle House, 1951.

7 - Robert Duncan. Introducing Charles Olson, 1957 — a handout. Reprinted in Minutes of the Charles Olson Society #18 (November 1996). http://charlesolson.ca/files/Duncan.htm

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday Linkday

Link of the Week:

Before the word blog existed, I googled with Altavista. Those were the text-centered days of html, when babelfish was easily made recursive, allowing one to translate entire pages from English to Russian and back again with a single cut-and-paste. On several occasions this led me to something called The Hotsy Totsy Club, which was a serialized, real-time hypertext published in blocks of text the size of a computer screen. The Hotsy Totsy Club had a tendency to show up when I, bored, altavistaed any of my more peculiar cultural obsessions: Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Jack Spicer, Blind Willie McTell, Samuel R. Delany, George Herriman. I imagined a bustling community of outsider scholars, perhaps an alliance of computer programmers with queer taste in music and literature (which happened to coincide, in large parts, with my own -- I had never met anybody who agreed with me about anything before!), who had simply decided to make public all their internal deliberations.

Gradually I started reading The Hotsy Totsy Club for its own sake, following its links into the greater world of hypertext, and it wasn't long before I discovered that the Club was actually some guy named Ray Davis, and that there were other people, with very different cultural obsessions, keeping similar web pages. One day the word "blog" appeared, and suddenly everybody had one. But Ray's, my first, has always been my prime example of what a blog can be.

Davis's webwriting practice has meandered and mutated for something like a decade now, and he keeps changing the name of his site. For a while it was "Kokonino Kounty", which implied a spatial conception of hypertext -- a strange landscape to be stumbled through, with the occasional brick tossed lovingly your way (I have always identified Ray with Ignatz, not Krazy, in my own allegorical whaleworld, though he may think otherwise himself). Then it became "The Bellona Times", which was a way of formalizing both the serial, timestamped nature of blogging and its arbitrary relationship to time, while at the same time insisting (by allegory, again, here to Delany's Dahlgren) upon its power-dependent construction of a public sphere amid the deliriously fragmented anarchy of the internet. Nowadays he calls it "Pseudopodium", a clever portmanteau which downplays his own power as a public speaker, and emphasizes (instead?) his amoebic articulations of thought.

As for me: Despite a lifelong attachment to computers, I am but a fool in html. How do I get my blockquotes to show up in those neat little boxes that Ray uses on his page?

Recursive Babelfish

On several cases this conducted me to that caused something by club Hotsy Totsy, which was published by series, in real time hypertext the published in blkakh of text size of the screen of computer. Club Hotsy Totsy had a tendency to show upward when drilled I, altavistaed any of my more specific cultural obsession: Thinking Connection Local 282 fellers, Jack Spicer, Dazzles Willie McTell, Samuel R Are made, George Herriman. I it presented bustling the community of the scholars of outsider, is possible the alliance of programmer with queer by taste in notes and literature

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Today my desktop, whales the world


In the future, people may be able to talk with chimpanzees and dolphins. Imagine what we may be able to learn from them. They may know about many things which we do not know about. New genetically engineered animals may roam in the forests. Wild places of the earth may be quite different from those of today.

The world of the future will be more complex than ours.


This is a ridiculous pretension. Nonetheless facts are fascinating and Melville has an insatiable curiosity. From a simple and seemingly tongue-in-cheek enumeration of the whale’s various characteristics, something of the whale will come to light. Parody at first conceals a fascination and later goes thoroughly astray. The heavily disguised mannerisms in Moby Dick are closer to mimesis than to parody.

Instinctively an allegorist, Melville creates a whale-world and imprisons us in it.


What we still don’t fully understand is how sperm whales catch their prey. There are no pictures or film of sperm whales eating. The relatively small squid they consume are bioluminescent...; but seeing is one thing, catching is another....

How, then, do the whales capture the squid? As one comes to expect with sperm whales, there are many theories but few answers. The sounds that sperm whales make might be focused into a powerful pulse of sound, or sonic boom, which stuns the squid, allowing the whales to gather them up at a leisurely pace. Perhaps the whale’s white teeth or the bright white flesh on the inside and the edges of its mouth act as beacons, luring the squid into the whale’s maw....

Among the more unusual items that have been found in a sperm whale’s stomach are shoes, rubber boots, toy cars and toy guns, bundles of insulated wire, dolls, coconuts, cosmetic jars, flesh from baleen whales, and fishing nets.

But surely the most unusual item is a man.


My other favorite design is of water lilies printed on silk. It is an iridescent fabric because of the fact that the warp and weft threads are different colors. She had the pattern of water lily blossoms and leaves printed on the warp (vertical threads) before the solid-colored weft (horizontal threads) were added. When the warp and weft were woven together, the pattern softened and fell slightly out of alignment, creating a shifting and shimmering quality, like real water lilies floating on water.

I also curate something called miscellaneous natural substances, which are all the things no one else wants to deal with in the decorative arts and have been dumped on me. There are strange bits of things on ivory, weird pieces of folk sculpture, fire buckets made of leather, plates made out of trees. We have a horrible little profile portrait of Ben Franklin in wax, now half melted, and odd bits and pieces, like scrimshaw, whale teeth that have been carved on by sailors. Apparently the boredom of being on a whaling ship was extreme, and the sailors would make decorative objects out of these things to bring home to their wives and families.

The museum is a big part of my life, but I have many other things in my life.


1 - Simon Lamblin (ill. Christian Bessiere, adaptation Howard E. Smith Jr.) . The World We Live In. New York: Larousse, 1982.

2 - Jean Jacques Mayoux (tr. John Ashbery). Melville. New York: Grove, 1960.

3 - Eric Jay Dolin. Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America. New York: Norton, 2007.

4 - Amelia Peck, as told to Danny Danzinger. from Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Viking, 2007.

My desk