"What's the difference between a metaphor...and a lie?"

Elizabeth Alexander on The Colbert Report--this has been around for at least a week, but I just saw it this morning, and if you missed it, it's worth a view. Alexander does a good job of handling Colbert (imho, a much better job than she did writing the inaugural poem), and Colbert on Prufrock is pretty priceless:


Halloween, Oberlin, 1992

Joys of Facebook: if for some reason you have lost a photo of yourself in the early 90s, someone else is sure to have and post it. I'm on the floor in the black hat, going as Roxy, Catherine Tremell's murderous lesbian lover in Basic Instinct.


"The States are full of mush and pie"

I've been enjoying A is for Archive: 100 Years of Alphabet Books at the Internet Archive. Most of the books can be quickly loaded and flipped through. "The States are full of mush and pie" is only one of many promising lines from T.W.H. Crosland's 1901 Little People: An Alphabet.

1899's An Alphabet of Celebrities by Oliver Herford is also worth a spin. Sample pages:

1905's An Alphabet of History includes both nonfictional and fictional characters, apparently without drawing a line between them. I is for Iago, which is rhymed with "Chicago." Caesar, for the rhyme, is a "frosty geezer." E's Euripides is also called, for the meter, "Rippy." X is for Xantippe (or "Xanty"), Socrates's wife, portrayed with a husband-clobbering rolling pin:

Another book's X is for "Xerxes," and another's for "Xanthus." O, the plight of the alphabet book author before the invention of the X-ray!


Kottke posted a link today to the opening credits from "3-2-1 Contact":

It surprised me how many of the images I remembered intensely: the baby with the weird tongue, the frog, the trampoline from below, the girl whispering a secret.

The video naturally pointed to a bit from "The Bloodhound Gang," my favorite "3-2-1 Contact" sketch:

and this led me to "The Great Space Coaster" credits:

and "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings":

and the theme from Bill Cosby's "Picture Pages":

I wonder how many papers are being written out there about how YouTube is changing our experience of nostalgia. Everything is accessible (on the lucky side of the digital divide). Like the shift from having to see works of art in person to being able to see reproductions in books, the shift from having to have been alive & glued to the set in a certain era to see TV bits to being able to see them online. (Did I mention here that the other day I saw a high school girl at the library with a giant sketchbook, sketching a work of art on her computer screen as if she were an art student sketching in a museum?)

I wonder what a mid-21st century "Persistence of Memory" might look like.

...and blow.

Had this scene from To Have and Have Not in my head this morning. This was Bacall's first movie; she was 19, and Bogart was 44 and already a huge star. She writes that she was shaking in her boots when she filmed it. I love how unexpected she was. I imagine the moment in the theatre when it first played as similar to the moment in the theatre when Garbo spoke her first out-loud lines in that low, low voice in Anna Christie.

Best Thought, Worst Thought

Best Thought, Worst Thought (Graywolf Press) is a new book of aphorisms & observations by Scottish poet Don Paterson. Teresa picked it up for me at a recent book festival, judging correctly by the title and look of it that it would be something I'd gravitate to. I liked--didn't love--it, and as I read I jotted down the entries I thought I'd want to return to later:

*[from the foreword]: On the morning the Barbarians wandered through the gates, everyone in Rome had their feet up and was reading a foreword.

*The aphorism will often contain one italicized word; this denotes its magnetic North, not its direction.

*No matter how beautiful it is, if it appears in the wrong month, kill it.

*When I first learned that Bach preceded Mozart I was completely incredulous. All but the most naive among us accept that literature doesn't progress, but we've always held out higher hopes for music, as if the species might somehow hitch a ride on it.

*Like every other literary critic, Bloom credits the writer with far too much interest in literature.

*Sympathetic proof of hylozoism: imagine a stone lying on a beach, undisturbed for fifty years; impossible to think that, walking by, we could pick it up and throw it into the sea, and that it could feel nothing...

*Our names should be lengthened a little after our demise, by the lovely matronymic of death...we'd then appear in the conversation of our friends and enemies with our signature cadence gently altered, discreetly informing strangers of our change of status.

*No sense steps into the same word twice.

Poetry Daily posted Paterson's full foreword to the book as a special prose feature a while back. In it, Paterson shares his thoughts on the form and on a number of other aphorists, including Nietzsche, author of my favorite aphorism--not for the sentiment, but for the image: "In a man devoted to knowledge, pity seems almost ridiculous, like delicate hands on a cyclops."