THE DUCK walked carrying its invisible suitcases past his park bench. He was glad he’d stopped smoking, so he could keep his hands in his coat pockets, warm. The buildings before him were like mountains, a range, of which he knew only the tallest. He stood as he noticed her coming toward him, just passing the statue of Robert Burns. Her coat with the saucer buttons. Her face the sonsiest of faces. How could he face such a face such as hers? Perhaps she loved him for his utter lack of composure around her. “You said,” she called out when she was still fifty feet away, “you’d not be involved with someone newly divorced.”
He looked at his watch.
it is a state of mind
Dogeared: Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism.
“The demonic human world is a society held together by a kind of molecular tension of egos, a loyalty to the group or the leader which diminishes the individual… Such a society is an endless source of tragic dilemmas like those of Hamlet and Antigone. In the apocalyptic [in this context Frye means ideal or heavenly] conception of human life we found three kinds of fulfillment: individual, sexual, and social. In the sinister human world one individual pole is the tyrant-leader, inscrutable, ruthless, melancholy, and with an insatiable will, who commands loyalty only if he is egocentric enough to represent the collective ego of his followers.”
Dogeared: Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World
“Psychopaths lie, cheat, and steal. They are given to obscenity and, as one psychologist puts it, exhibit a confusion of amorous and excretory functions. They’re not just antisocial, they’re foolishly so (they will commit thefts, forgery, adultery, fraud, and other deeds for astonishingly small stakes and under much greater risks of being discovered than will the ordinary scoundrel.) While they are often smart, they have a sort of “rudderless intelligence,” in that they respond to situations as they arise but cannot formulate any coherent, sustainable long-term plan. They are masters of the empty gesture, and have a glib facility with language, stripping words of the glue that normally connects them to feeling and morality. Finally, they lack remorse and shame for the harm and hurt that trail behind them. One way or another, almost everything that can be said about psychopaths can be said about tricksters.”
Mac-nish! god bless you
We thank you for your generous and mystifying support.
Out of the blue, someone arranged to send us a quantity of Bitcoin. Our actual initial reaction was the look on a dog’s face when you make him a birthday cake. But we are truly grateful, and excited to learn more about what this is and what to do with it.
Bry O’Shaughnessy’s Complete and Authoritative Periodic Table of the Elephants is now launched at its own site, 118els.com.
Bry’s exhaustive large-scale disinformation graphic, which gathers all the world’s elephants in a handy and easy-to-consult format, can now be found on its own site. It is available in several sizes and formats.
Formerly, Bry’s Periodic Table joined his brother Nog O’Shaughnessy’s print William Blake’s Amended London Tube Map of Hell, emended 21c. at our old soon-to-be-unplugged retail site. This was until Google Analytics made the clear case Nog’s grim art was scaring away nine out of the ten visitors (total) who’d come to visit the elephants.
a house brand
It’s Snippets time.
Monday, January 25 was Robert Burns’s birthday, which marks the beginning of the Snippets season.
Now we begin carrying everywhere (and keep bedside at night) a tiny cheap spiral notepad and nub of pencil. Others are known to go whole-hog, decking themselves out with a Field Notes Front Page Reporter’s Notebook and, clipped to this, a Montblanc Meisterstück Le Petit Prince Solitaire LeGrand (filled with purple ink).
This is the time of year you’ll see us break off from whatever we were doing to jot down whatever seed crystal of a story or snatch of melody comes to the inner ear. Or we seek out birds, trash bins, a woman waiting for a bus, and sketch them quick as we can. We take all these home and tack them up, feathering the walls with what might just be a work in progress, we’ll have to see.
We’re a mess.
After six weeks of rebuilding our Adobe Muse site in Webflow, we’re still encountering layout problems, bad links, and squeaking hinges. (Our fault, not Webflow’s.) We’re probably at work on this right now, and if you refresh your browser view you’ll see something entirely different.
In mobile view, the site might look like you dropped your phone and broke it.
Another note from Mrs. Goblington—
I myself must Watch this Edge.
I tell myself,
I don’t have Time for my True Work this Morning.
O, I say, instead I must go to my Job at the Mill,
And O this World is Cruel, O but I have Virtue,
Even if I Neglect my Own Art.
Thus I cast myself as Victimized Artist,
The Martyr, and do not Do My Art!
The Lies I tell Myself!
As the Poet & Engraver said,
We want not Liberality,
We want Fair Price
& Proportionate Value & General Demand for Art!
An Artist is a Worker with a Social Function
And the Producer of Goods
Dor which there is a steady Social Demand!
A Society where artists are socially Isolated
Or live off the Charity of Patronage will do
All the Damage it can to the Genius that Appears!
[We love you, Mrs. Goblington.]
all mrs. goblington's
muddle in style
Emerging from Muddle...
We observe Bern O’Shaughnessy’s seasonal calendar, which declares Muddle to begin December 26 and last through the first two to seven days of January. (We sort of have trouble pinning it down.)
(During Muddle, we have trouble just transitioning between paragraphs.)
Traditional Muddle is observed by staying home, eating leftovers, finishing opened bottles, wearing bathrobes or the same sweatpants, and not shaving. Seasonal colors are brown, maroon, warm gray. In our house it is celebrated by getting lost for hours reading books we’ve probably read two or three times already.
You may be thinking, That describes my whole year.
Orthodox Muddle calls for personal hygiene every third day.
(A brief rundown of some of Bern’s seasons may be found here.)
... and entering Bearings.
By the time Bearings season commences, we’re good and ready.
Those who in the past have felt an urge to make New Year’s resolutions will take to Bearings. We drink lots of water and experiment with adjustments to our exercise program, meditation practice, nutrition, and sleep. We ratchet back on consumption of media and inebriants. We try out new styles of list-making. Colors are azure, silver, and white. Bearings runs until Robert Burns’s birthday, January 25 by which time we’ve had all the virtue a body can stand.
surname in quality
Now this news.
Nog wrote, “Report in last month’s Journal of Applied Hysterics that hahophysicists at Catskills National Laboratory have claimed to discover preliminary evidence for a sixth, and possibly seventh, Marx Brother.”
The Quiet Underwoods is done and making the rounds.
Bern says, “At 180,000 words, The Quiet Underwoods is over twice the length of most debut novels. To most literary agents this is like running a busy sandwich shop and having a food service vendor show up at your door hoping to unload a truckload of Beef Wellingtons on you. One agent told me she found it impressive and intriguing but also not quite for her. Nevertheless she recommended I send my query and manuscript to another agent at different agency. I wasn’t aware agents did this, were you? Is this a kind of joke between agents, passing off to each other certain manuscripts? Like white elephants?”
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