I published this essay on July 7th, 2011, on my old blog, which will eventually pass into the great Internet beyond. It’s one of my favorites, so I’m reposting it here with a few edits.
“I was twelve going on thirteen when I first saw a dead human being. It happened in 1960, a long time ago. . .although sometimes it doesn’t seem that long to me.” —Stephen King, “The Body”
When Dan the Manager got busted on a coke binge, the Steak ‘n Shake gang wasn’t surprised. We had all left St. Louis after high school; I was living in New York, Josh in Virginia, Jack in North Carolina. Over vacations we visited our adolescent haunt, sipping milkshakes and polishing off bowls of bright red chili. Yet, even a steakburger topped with guacamole and chopped onions and pepperjack cheese couldn’t bring back …
On my old blog, I posted installments of “the Columbia diet,” a description of all the foods I ate over the course of a week. My intention was to record what kinds of meals a college student in New York City consumes on a regular basis, as well as to mark the differences between the diet of an endurance runner and the average Columbian. Now that I’m at Oxford—and, for the time being, walking and weight-lifting and riding a recumbent bike instead of running—I think it might be interesting to keep a similar log. How does a (graduate) student eat in Oxford?
Saturday, November 16th:
For breakfast, I made a packet of Quaker oatmeal, apple and blueberry flavor, and mixed in a spoonful of rhubarb and ginger jam. I walked to the town of Binsey and stopped at a pub called The …
From the liner of Naked Teenage Girls In Outer Space (1985):
Music is the only thing that matters.
We do not care about being popular.
Only idiots yearn for the approval of others.
Only idiots become popular.
We do not care about material things.
Only idiots waste their lives haggling over money.
Only idiots accumulate vast wealth.
Everything human is alien to us.
Worrying about what the neighbors will think is the most despicable kind of cowardice.
We do not heed social dictates.
Only weaklings need rules to give themselves an illusion of security and a false sense of personal worth.
Complacency and unreflective optimism are a kind of intellectual and spiritual death, characteristic of the grinning imbecile.
In a world of lies, the man who utters the truth is bound to appear insane.
John Trubee’s description of the album, stuck to the front cover by a strip …
Blest age! when all men may procure,
The title of a Connoisseur;
When noble and ignoble herd,
Are govern’d by a single word;
Though, like the royal German dames,
It bears an hundred Christian names;
As Genius, Fancy, Judgment, Goût,
Whim, Caprice, Je-ne-scai-quoi, Virtu:
Which appellations all describe
TASTE, and the modern tasteful tribe.
Robert Lloyd, The Cit’s Country Box, 85-94.
All Matter lives, and shews its Maker’s Power;
There’s not a Seed but what contains a Flower:
Tho’ unobserv’d its secret Beauty lies,
Till we are blest with Microscopick Eyes.
When for blue Plumbs our longing Palate calls,
Or scarlet Cherries that adorn the Walls;
With each plump Fruit we swallow down a Tree,
And so destroy whole Groves that else wou’d be
As large and perfect as those Shades we see.
Mary Leapor, The Enquiry, 65-74
From David Thompson’s Thai Food
Aromatic Duck Curry, geng gari bpet
Braised Quail Eggs with Star Anise and Bamboo Shoots, kai parlow
Yellow Curry of Clams with Pineapple, geng leuang hoi lai
Krua of Salted Swordfish, krua pla dap (with (clockwise) tomatoes, quail eggs, shallots, eggplant, cucumber, celery, Sweet Pork (muu warn), sorrel, dragon fruit, and mango)
What tho’ my Name stood rubric on the walls,
Or plaister’d posts, with claps in capitals?
Or smoaking forth, a hundred hawkers load,
On wings of winds came flying all abroad?
Pope, “An Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot” 215-218
Has anyone ever written a happy dog story?
Seriously, need to know, contact me.
What’s up with the orgy scene in Perfume? One of the more unsatisfying orgies I’ve seen.
Does Richard Bachman qualify as a heteronym? Is his style different enough from Stephen King’s?
Shostakovich and Dvorak make The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis easier to read, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the novel’s rhythm, a drowsy pulse of commas, that begs a counterpoint. Also enjoying Music for 18 Musicians.
I tried it with Dr. Funkenstein, no luck.
Took my first steps yesterday. Strange to feel the ground again beneath my soles.