Print Story One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor
By BlueOregon (Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 10:41:27 AM EST) (all tags)

He used to be the glue that held the family together, now he's just glue: Barbaro put down.

For ana's banana we have Michael Pollan on “Unhappy Meals.”

Inside: GPotD.


“Die Kurtisane” (1907)

Venedigs Sonne wird in meinem Haar
ein Gold bereiten: alle Alchemie
erlauchten Ausgang. Meine Brauen, die
den Brücken gleichen, siehst du sie

hinführen ob der lautlosen Gefahr
der Augen, die ein heimlicher Verekhr
an die Kanäle schließt, so daß das Meer
in ihnen steigt und fällt und wechselt. Wer

mich einmal sah, beneidet meinen Hund,
weil sich auf ihm oft in zerstreuter Pause
die Hand, die nie an keiner Glut verkohlt,

die unverwundbare, geschmückt, erholt—.
Und Knaben, Hoffnungen aus altem Hause,
gehn wie an Gift an meinem Mund zugrund.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

The short breakdown of Rilke's poetic output follows. Early-enough Rilke wrote semi-mystical poetry, collected in the Book of Hours, much of it produced in or inspired by his time in Russia. Then he went to Paris, worked as Rodin's secretary, and, inspired by the sculptor's approach, entered what we call his middle period, 1905–1912, about, which contains his Dinggedichte or Thing Poems. The New Poems (a collection) belong here. It's a return to form (or forms), an emphasis on objects or people: the Archaic Torso of Apollo, the Courtesan, the Panther, etc. And many many sonnets or pseudo-sonnets. He then had one of history's most famous cases of writer's block, constipation of the brain and hand that lasted years. At the end of it we have the “Sonnets to Orpheus” and “Duino Elegies,” all of which are more difficult works to comprehend, yet beautiful.

Duino Castle itself, outside Trieste, is beautiful as well.


A colleague recommended Jasper Fforde to me when I showed her House of Leaves two weeks back. It wasn't because they are similar, it was just a matter of “This is what my husband and I are reading, and you might like it.”

A friend out west got himself some action the other night for the first time in a long time and was wondering whether he should make a special gesture to the object of his affections and injections. Flowers? he queried.

I replied, “With a card: ‘Hey, that wasn't a bad way to spend an evening. Let's do it again some time.’” I figured “Practice makes perfect, and you need practice,” wasn't bad, either.

Then we decided that Cunter Crass would be the name of an award-winning German author of erotica.

Alas it went downhill from there, from tactless to tasteless. Perhaps that's why we talk so little these days.


Rilke's poem is rather clearly a sonnet, rather easily but not too strictly following the meter. The rhetorical turn between the 2x4 and the 2x3 is less evident than in some such poems, but there is still a turn from the comparison of the ego to Venice, particularly its bridges, to more concrete actions around the poetic self (e.g. the dog, suitors).

What I do not like about the translation is that it is too faithful to the sonnet form as employed by Rilke, and in so being loses his syntax and his rhetoric. The translation feels archaic and forced, as if trying to be pretty for pretty's sake. A pity.

Perhaps petty on my part.

Rilke uses relative clauses; Leishman changes the breaks (comma locations) and obscures the syntax. “Whoever has seen me envies my dog, because this hand of mine—never incinerated, impervious to injury, bejewelled—often recuperates upon him.” Not particularly poetic, I admit, but clearer as to what is being said.

Using a gendered pronoun for Venice in the first two stanzas provides a less subtle eroticism to those passages than is to be found in Rilke's verse.

“The Courtesan”

The sun of Venice in my hair's prepairing
a gold where lustrously shall culminate
all alchemy. My brows, which emulate
her bridges, you can contemplate

over the silent perilousness repairing
of eyes which some communion secretly
unites with her canals, so that the sea
rises and ebbs and changes in them. He

who once has seen me falls to envying
my dog, because, in moments of distraction,
this hand no fieriness incinerates,

scathless, bejewelled, there recuperates.—
And many a hopeful youth of high extraction
will not survive my mouth's envenoming.

—Translated by J. B. Leishman
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One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Fforde by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 11:13:17 AM EST
I've only read his first, but you just reminded me that I've planned to read his other books. I think I may like the Rochester in The Eyre Affair better than any of his other literary incarnations -- all of whom I like, but Fforde's, I guess, hits me right in the meta.

"If a tree is impetuous in the woods, does it make a sound?" -- aethucyn
"The Eyre Affair" reminded me... by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 11:24:20 AM EST
because I was too lazy to click on the link, that $office_mate has recommended Fforde several times. it seems like it could be an interesting concept.
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
reply to both ... by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 11:39:37 AM EST

... the problem with the Eyre Affair is that it is checked out ... several of his books are even OVERDUE!

So I'll see what I can ffind and let you ffolks know.

[ Parent ]
I have done well by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 02:51:04 PM EST
in finding his books on remainder at HBS. Though I agree that in principle they are more books to be taken out of the library than owned. I don't seem to have the first, but books 2-4 to be passed at an order of your (a collective your) choosing. They're fun, with excessive literary references and a plethora of puns.

[ Parent ]
puns? by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 02:57:38 PM EST

That's it. I am not reading them. The lowest form of humour, I tell you. Library or bookstore, it's all the same -- BURN THEM!

[ Parent ]
getting something by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 01:36:36 PM EST
a phone call is rare enough these days that it satisfies most women.

where are ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 02:42:20 PM EST

... this most women of whom you speak?

But, indeed, oh how standards have fallen. Hell, these days we can accomplish that phone call not with an operator in between as match maker, but with VoIP -- it's digital, but there are no fingers doing the walking.

[ Parent ]
i'm anti-flowers by 256 (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:19:49 PM EST
it seems more a gift of cultural baggage than of affection.

then again my idea of a good post-getting-laid gift is a bottle of a tequila and a note that reads: "i'm even better when you're drunk."

speaking of which i'm trying to determine whether or not a ninth ounce of mescal would be a good idea.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

short answer: yes by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:41:23 PM EST

Long answer: ... if you have to ask ...

As for flowers, while I understand gift giving (of any kind) as ritual, that doesn't mean that I care to play along.

Random hookups, one-time deals, etc., are neither to be rewarded with gifts nor extended by them; it always ends in tears, and don't waste money, effort, or insincere sentiments ... for anything potentially more serious, reserve "gifts" for things that matter and make them of things that matter.

Of course, I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, which is why I'm single again.

[ Parent ]
i was positing only sincere sentiments. by 256 (4.00 / 2) #10 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:43:59 PM EST

i tend not to put my dick in people i don't like.

I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
while I happen to agree with you ... by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 05:42:52 PM EST

... an astounding number of people do not follow that principle.

[ Parent ]
also by 256 (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:45:34 PM EST
the limiting factor is that i'm out of limes.

if i had more limes, there would be no question.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
I told you by ni (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 12:08:09 AM EST
I had a cache downstairs, drunkey. Maybe if you weren't such a drunk you'd have remembered.

Fucking lowlife.

"Not of this world..." -- 256, on the subject of the New Jersey Turnpike

[ Parent ]
I like flowers by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:49:40 PM EST
Both giving them and receiving them. Though as a "thanks for fucking me" sentiment, I'd be a little less enamored of them. I'd rather get (or give) flowers for no reason at all.
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
flowers can be nice by 256 (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 03:59:27 PM EST
in the right context. in the wrong one they are awkward. and wrong contexts are ubiquitous.

flowers are best served aperiodically after years of sharing life together.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
fforde + unrelated anecdote by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #15 Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 12:04:53 AM EST
Read one, enjoyed greatly.

An anecdote re. unrelated reading. A few years back, I was queuing for pizza. They delivery guy was reading Dostoevsky (yes, really). This was noticed by the woman taking the orders at the till.

"Oh, you're reading a book! I like books! Do you read Andy McNab? I like his books. They remind me of when I was in the secret police in South Africa"

Fforde & reading anecdotes by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #17 Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 05:04:32 AM EST
Read all four of the Thursday Nexts. Generally in two or three sittings each. Very enjoyable, although the actual writing style's can be a bit like some of the things Jurisfiction's meant to be stamping out.

Also, one copy I read was a US edition, and there was some unwelcome cultural transposition inserted during the copyediting. They don't do that to Martin Amis.


I was in Waterstone's last week, and someone went up to the counter and asked where Richard the 2nd was. "By William Shakespeare". So the assistant took them over to the Shakespeare plays.

All fairly unremarkable. Then, as I was going downstairs having made my purchase, I overheared the following Ffordian snippet of conversation:

They say he didn't write them, though. I don't know if it was Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe...
And here it was in real life, people striking up conversation on the authorship of Shakespeare, although not evangelising on it door to door.

[ Parent ]
Anecdote by Herring (4.00 / 2) #18 Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 05:42:26 AM EST
Again, the late, great Hicks:

I was in Fyffe, Alabama last year. After the show, I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm eating, I'm alone and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me:

"Hey, what you readin' for?"

Is that like the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading … for.

"Well, God damn it, you stumped me. Why do I read? Hmm … I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is … so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress."

But then, this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me and goes:

"Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader."

"What the fuck's going on here? It's not like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George outfit, God damn it. It's a book!"

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback