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Showing posts from October 2, 2005

perverse sibyl

“One is left with unappeased curiosity about the Sibyl. Wood says the Sibyl in Virgil's Aeneid is "perfectly clear," but that is hardly the case. The Sibyl tells Aeneas that the way down into the underworld is easy and that the hard thing is to get back. In the ensuing narrative Aeneas has great difficulty finding his way down and flits out with the greatest of ease—through the gate of false dreams (!). The reader is left thinking, "What can she have meant?” The quote above is from A.D. Nuttall’s review of Michael Wood’s book on oracles, The Road to Delphi. Over at The Valve they had a discussion, earlier this week, about novels. The discussion attached to Ben Marcus’ attack on Jonathan Franzen’s line about novels – that the types of novels can be divided between contract and status, with contract being those novels that imply a contract with the reader – this is something you will like to read and feel entertained by -- and status being those that are written to ma

Terrorist plots and me

This is a week the angels unseal the seals, rolls are put into the mouths of prophets, and Bush reveals the terrorist plots that his administration has cleverly foiled. In that spirit, we thought we might list a few terrorist plots LI has foiled: 1. The Little Rock airliner plot: In mid-2003 LI and a partner disrupted a plot to spread airplane glue all over the tarmac of the Little Rock airport, which would not only have stuck aircraft to the ground but given Little Rockians those terrific glue sniffing headaches. 2. The 2003 Karachi plot: In the spring of 2003 LI. and a partner disrupted a plot to draw horns on posters depicting Pakistans biggest patron of democracy and president for life, your friend and mine, runner up for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Medicine, and Peace, General Musharraf in Karachi, Pakistan. 3. The 2004 Oz plot. In the fall of 2004, LI and a scarecrow and a cowardly lion disrupted a plot by a witch to overthrow the president for life of Oz and our very good fr


ps -- we wrote the last post before we went to the Dailywarnews and found the Iraqi PM's response to Blair's tinny warmongering : "BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has denied British claims Iran has been assisting insurgents in Iraq and meddling in its politics. "Such accusations are baseless and we do not agree with them at all," Jaafari said on Iranian state television Thursday. "Relations between Iran and Iraq are currently very friendly and strong and expanding. We are proud of the situation." My guess is that this item from the Kerala news will appear in the Washington Post, if at all, on page A16. The truth about our "allies" in Iraq is systematically censored in the press, who are, after all, loyal members of the oligarchy. PPS -- well, I'm a hundred percent today. The WP story on the incident doesn't mention Jaafari's denial once. The good thing about having a press run as a propaganda machine for the imperia

an evening redness in Iraq

Following up on LI’s last post, about miracles, there is a story in the Guardian today that begins with a sentence that could have been ripped from the Victorian book of prejudices: “Italy remains a profoundly superstitious country and there was uproar recently when a group of scientists queried a religious rite in Naples in which the dried blood of a saint beheaded in AD305 "miraculously" liquefies.” Ah, those superstitious Italians, always being fooled by the priestly caste. The superstition in question is the famous transformation of a liquid in two vials in Naples into blood on the Feast of San Gennaro: “This time, members of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of the Paranormal (Cicap) have said the red-coloured contents are a thixotropic substance, based on iron chloride. This means that it liquefies when stirred or vibrated and returns to solid form when left to stand. According to Cicap, the substance was probably stumbled upon by an alchemist or a painter in

suspensio legis naturae

Notes a. We haven’t thanked the people who have been sending us money for this site. Recently, two readers shuffled LI two hundred and fifteen bucks, which is the equivalent of four NYT special services fees. We are touched. Sorry we took so long to acknowledge your generosity. b. On the editing front, we’d also like to thank readers who emailed us with suggestions about improving our site. A couple have told us that they will use send our letter to people they know who require editing/writing/translating, etc. We are going to insert that letter, in its various forms, every week on LI, to keep it visual. c. Finally, a correction. Our last post incorrectly implied that I was the only member of the dopamine cowboy movement. Our correspondent, T., in NYC reminded us he is a dopamine cowboy. Actually, we meant to say that the whole LI collective, with branches in Washoogle,Washington and New York City and Barcelona, are members of the dopamine cowboy movement. …. The Welt article we wrote

the dopamine cowboy movement

The “Literary World”, Die Welt’s book supplement, is not a place I’d generally go to find explanations for the particular warp of the American grain at the present moment. So I was surprised to find an explanation for everything, everything that has happened since Reagan was elected president, in the first two paragraphs of review article by Uwe Schmitt : “Usually the American journal, the Archives of Neurology, only offers the layman news of the obscure impulse inherent in his bankruptcy or obituary. But this summer, when the journal reported that the drug Mirapex, which is used by Parkinson’s patience, can drive those patients to gamble, the readership increased. The study by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota showed abrupt personality changes in a test group: eleven of thirty patients became compulsive gamblers and lost, in half a year, up to 200,000 dollars. The families and heirs of the selected patients were not amused. Six of eleven patients could not curb their eating, drinking, sex

seeing what this looks like

For a long time I’ve meant to put little pieces of my novel on this post, and today is a good day. I’m hoping for comments. The title of this novel has gone through long and elaborate metamorphoses, from Holly’s Folly to The facts in the Sterling Case to The Favorite. I know the first title won’t fly. My latest title is Party of the Jealous God, partly because it sounds echt thriller-ish. Those of you who have seen versions of this have not seen this version. I’m not sure how much my tinkering has changed the thing. The “thing” – my baby monster, my daydream, my spoiled child, my Holly, my fourteen chapters The first four pages. Chapter 1 – Party of the Jealous God Patrol Officer Candidate Foxton liked rigging up. He liked the squeak of getting off the hot leather seat. He liked the whole ritual of the helmet - not taking it off, lifting the visor just at that spooky little angle, revealing the unprotected shaven chin and lips, a bit of dark moustache, shades on, the unmistakable bl

hell and worse ahead

The NYT Mag has an admiring portrait of the ultimate horror that is Hillary. Oddly, the more hopeful article is about Buckley’s campaign for mayor in 1965. While Buckley exhibited the thinly sheathed bigot in that campaign – in one of those odd, convulsive spasms of coercive moralism to which conservatives are liable he even proposed that drug addicts be quarantined, one of those bizarre notions like tattooing people with AIDS that seem to emerge in the Buckley brain, and of course in the face of real civil morality, ie Martin Luther King, Jr, he was clueless -- he also campaigned to legalize drugs for adults. A simple measure that would have removed infinite misery in the last forty years, and probably even more in the next forty. In a strong sense, that move, if it had caught on, would have retrieved millions of black men from the clutches of the legal system, and would have put states like Alabama (where 30 percent of African American men can’t vote, due to felony convictions) and