Month: June 2007


[W]hen George Plimpton [acting on behalf of the NEA] paid Aram Saroyan $1,500 for a poem consisting of a single misspelled word “lighght,” an Iowa congressional aide dared to ask the dilettantish Plimpton what the poem meant. “You are from the Midwest. You are culturally deprived, so you would not understand it anyway,” replied the New Yorker Plimpton.

Bill Kauffman, Look Homeward, America, p. 58.… Read the rest

Some Belloc

The last half of the Chesterbelloc isn’t nearly as quotable as the first half, but if I had to pick the book with most quotables, it’d be The Path to Rome.

“[I]f there is difficulty it is in the whole launching of a thing, in the first ten pages of a book, or the first half-hour of listening to a sermon, or the first mile of a walk.”

“I will tell you this much; it is the moment (not the year or the month, mind you, nor even the hour, but the very second) when a man is grown up, when he sees things as they are (that is, backwards), and feels solidly himself. Do I make myself clear? No matter, it is the Shock of Maturity, and that must suffice for you.”

“[W]hat men love is never money itself but their own way.”

“It is quite clear that the body must be recognized and the soul kept in its place, since a little refreshing food and drink can do so much to make a man.”

“[S]o I offered them a pull of my wine, which, to my great joy, they refused, and we parted courteously.”

“Those great men Marlowe and Jonson, Shakespeare, and Spenser before him, drank beer at rising, and tamed it with a little bread.”

The “best of all Christian associations [is] a large village.”

While reading Tacitus, Belloc says he found “this excellent truth, that barbarians build their houses separate, but civilized men together.”

“I notice that those whom the devil has made his own are always spic and span, just as firemen who have to go into great furnaces … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

My time away from a computer continues. Only two quick BYCUs today:

1. Drive Beer. Only 2.5% alcohol.

MADD to endorse?


You put the 20-ounce cup under the tap but instead of pulling a lever, you press a digital key pad. ”Pfffffht,” goes the machine, jetting beer into the cup and topping it with a quarter-inch of foam. The cup fills in about three seconds — about one-quarter the time it takes a conventional tap to do the job. /snip/ What the Exactap does differently is to submerge the end of the nozzle at the bottom of the cup, instead of pouring from above. That eliminates the turbulence that causes foaming as you splash beer in from above

Read the rest

Something for Book Nerds

Geilor von Kaysersberg, writing in the early sixteenth century, divided bookish folly into seven types:

1. The fool who collects books for the sake of glory.
2. The fool who wants to grow wise by the consumption of too many books.
3. The fool who collects books without truly reading them.
4. The fool who loves sumptuously-illuminated books.
5. The fool who binds his books in rich cloth.
6. The fool who writes badly-written books without without having read the classics, without knowledge of spelling, grammar, or rhetoric.
7. The fool who despises books entirely.

From Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading, pp. 299-300.

I don’t fall under 4, 5, or 7. I hope I don’t fall under 1 or 6. Numbers 2 and 3 make me a bit nervous.… Read the rest

The Slow Week Continues

Hilaire Belloc, commenting on the 21st-century euthanasia debate:

It is worth noting, by the way, that the most sentimental people, who are loudest against the right to wage a just war, to execute a criminal, are just the people who are most likely to be in favour of ‘putting incurables out of their pain,’ which the commandment against murder most emphatically forbids.

From James V. Schall’s The Life of the Mind, p. 105. … Read the rest