Saturday, November 22, 2008

You mustn't forget about spiders.

“Garrett, let’s hear from you.”

“Well,” Garrett said, but declined to elaborate.

“They keep the money,” Rondo reminded them, “in banks.”

“Listen, guys,” the Bear began.

“Don’t say. A fucking. Thing,” Hatwell warned him.

The Bear deferred, and they drank some so-called beers.

The logical response was to substitute other forms of international liquidity. The problem to which this was a solution was not a global liquidity shortage but the need to substitute a new reserve asset for the dollar in order to prevent the process described by Triffin from destabilizing the Bretton Woods system. As mentioned above, this was favored by weak-currency countries and opposed by their strong-currency counterparts. Discussions were complicated by the fact that the dollar was both weak and strong.

Those words kept going through my head, and I just kept on walking. That man sort of followed me, shouting that he needed directions. Finally, the man yelled, “What are you, deaf?!” And I stopped, and I just gave him the directions, and that’s all he wanted, after all. But I was scared to death of him!

After the first day, one of his fellow smugglers suggested he get a fishing rod and pretend to be fishing so as not to arouse suspicion. Muscles went to a sporting goods store, bought seventeen rods and assorted tackle, and returned to the pier. He sat there for hours, trying to figure out how to put everything together.

After two months of struggle, I concluded that I could not solve these problems. It seemed it was in part because of the terrible privations of postwar life. Soon, however, I made some lucky discoveries: it was not the result of my limitations that I could not solve these problems; they are unsolvable! For various reasons, which I no longer remember, my conviction grew.

This doesn’t mean that for Menocchio the book was incidental, or a pretext. He himself declared, as we shall see, that at least one book had moved him deeply, encouraging him to think new thoughts by its startling assertions. It was the encounter between the printed page and the oral culture, of which he was one embodiment, that led Menocchio to formulate -- first for himself, later for his fellow villagers, and finally for the judges -- the “opinions … [that] came out of his head.”

Have you ever tried such a thing? I have, and it’s impossible, something only a few natural writers or journalists can do, be talking about politics, for example, and at the same time writing a little article on gardening or spondaic hexameters (which I can tell you, boys, are a rare phenomenon.) And that was how she spent her days at the general’s office, and when she had finished her work, sometimes quite late at night, she would say goodbye to everyone, gather up her things, and leave on her own.


1 - Rafi Zabor, The Bear Comes Home. WW Norton (NY) 1998.
2 - Barry Eichengreen, Globalizing Capital: A History Of The International Monetary System. Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ) 1996.
3 - Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. Dell (NY) 1994.
4 - “Roy Graham”, COWBOY MAFIA: The Finest Story in True-Crime History. Roy Graham 2000.
5 - Mariko Yasugi and Nicholas Passell, Memoirs of a Proof Theorist: Godel And Other Logicians. World Scientific Publishing (Singapore) 2003.
6 - Carlo Ginsburg (tr. John and Anne Tedeschi), The Cheese And The Worms: The Cosmos Of A Sixteenth Century Miller. Penguin (NY) 1982.
7 - Roberto Bolano (tr. Natasha Wimmer), The Savage Detectives. Picador (NY) 2008.

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