<= 2006.12

2007.02 =>

[JANUARY 2007.]

“Hello. Michael—Michael Henderson? Yes, hello, Mr. Henderson. This is Duke University. We’re calling because we’ve heard that you’re a selfish son of a bitch, and we were wondering if we could look at your brain. Yes, I understand. Well, there would be money involved—a fairly substantial amount of money, in fact, that no one else will be getting. So you see, Mr. Henderson, this really puts you ahead of the game.”


the writers must seize control of the means of book production!!

I’ve often thought this. Only I am not in the business of Delivering Office Solutions; and how to present a product that is not an Office Solution? I could disguise it as an Office Solution, or I could trumpet its uselessness; but something about mid-January is making it hard to concentrate.

I thought Against the Day had about 300 pages of Pynchon at his best, which made it worthwhile at least for fans. I didn’t understand the inclusion of all the halfhearted spy stories and halfhearted Westerns; they seemed (of all things) weirdly conventional, lacking his usual invention. But when he drops those threads and cranks up the old extended-analogy machine, the results are still wonderful. The best parts were the parts about math.

the worst parts were about math! (nb i like math)

i liked the cowboy stories

Well there you are. Maybe Michael Wood was right, and Pynchon is writing for a spectrum of taste broader than either I or my interlocutor(s) can conjure up? Because I was all about the complex plane and the parallel mystic world that Pynchon plots along the imaginary axis; sure he's done that sort of thing often enough before, but he does it awfully well. (Also, right before break I was reading the page in Finnegans Wake that mentioned Hamilton's quaternions; so maybe I was primed.)


Octopus From Egygt
Pencil sketch on paper, 8.5” by 11”
Artist unknown
Private collection, Reno, Nevada


"her own identity"?

I am somebody!


New Year's Day in a car across Wisconsin and Illinois: the fields that should have been buried in snow were bare yellow stubble. For a minute or two I managed to let go of them, to allow nature the same war and flux as the human world:
panta rhei kai ouden menei
polemos pantōn men patēr esti, pantōn de basileus

Chicago skyline at sunset: pink, black, gray. The low bright moon slid behind the Sears tower and I tried to picture the plane hitting as we passed beneath: what it would mean for the tower to vanish. To erupt into flame. What it would mean to lose that all that rising mass.

The delusions of the insane are apt to affect certain typical forms, often very hard to explain. But in many cases they are certainly theories which the patients invent to account for their abnormal bodily sensations. In other cases they are due to hallucinations of hearing and sight. Dr. Clouston (Clinical Lectures on Mental Disease, lecture III ad fin.) gives the following special delusions as having been found in about a hundred melancholy female patients who were afflicted in this way. There were delusions of

general persecution;
general suspicion;
being poisoned;
being killed;
being conspired against;
being defrauded;
being preached against in church;
being pregnant;
being destitute;
being followed by the police;
being very wicked;
impending death;
impending calamity;
the soul being lost;
having no stomach;
having no inside;
having a bone in the throat;
having lost much money;
being unfit to live;
that she will not recover;
that she is to be murdered;
that she is to be boiled alive;
that she is to be starved;
that the flesh is boiling;
that the head is severed from the body;
that children are burning;
that murders take place around;
that it is wrong to take food;
being in hell;
being tempted of the devil;
being possessed of the devil;
having committed an unpardonable sin;
unseen agencies working;
her own identity;
being on fire;
having neither stomach nor brains;
being covered with vermin;
letters being written about her;
property being stolen;
her childen being killed;
having committed theft;
the legs being made of glass;
having horns on the head;
being chloroformed;
having committed murder;
fear of being hanged;
being called names by persons;
being acted on by spirits;
being a man;
the body being transformed;
insects coming from the body;
rape being practised on her;
having venereal disease;
being a fish;
being dead;
having committed suicide of the soul.

William James, The Principles of Psychology


<= 2006.12

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