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[JANUARY 2012.]

44! Magnum

Twelve years ago, when I had just started this blog and was writing a lopsided early draft of my set-theory novel, my desktop background was an allegorical Alphabeta Artis that I later lost, and never found the right Google terms for until tonight. It is pegged, finally, as the frontispiece to Athanasius Kircher’s Ars Magna Sciendi, Sive Combinatoria.

There is much to love here, but I especially like the eye and the ear. I am happy to take Kircher on as a lexically garbled ancestor. Among other achievements, he takes the time to write out the factorials all the way up to fifty.

my sister knew a fellow who would shout "shrinkage factorial!" whenever he had to wade through a river. it happened a lot?

I think a clever rewrite of macabre nursery rhymes is in order.

The desire to build a utopia is so strong. And our cushy day care rather resembles a utopia, if you shut one eye and squint the other... heaven is full of babies. It’s hard to write about. This little piggy experienced no privation, nor this, nor this.

heaven full of babies = macabre nursery

It took R. four months to discover the length of her body. Now she grabs for her feet with a hunter’s concentration, like a cat batting at fish, and rakes her fingers over her pate in total bafflement at this downy, warm surface that is always with her but never in sight.

She gapes to her jaws’ full span, like a basking shark, and says “Aaa. Aaa.” Is it a complaint? We live in mild terror of the screams retuning. Should we respond in kind?

Strangers tell her the oddest things. The last was a hale, white-haired woman in her sixties who observed in passing, “Those look like fun feet.”

Definitely time to start playing "this little piggy..." ;-)

See, that’s what I’m talking about! Horrible, horrible world where pigs eat roast beef....

Are you taking author signature requests? I've a budding writer on my list who'd be pretty tickled.

See, this is what happens when I can't get the mail module working and don't check comments for a month. The answer is of course! - and with Christmas now only 356 days away, it's never too soon to get them in.

Since publishing a small-press volume has obviously made me a Public Figure, I should maybe Integrate the Branding around here? This much is good for email.

The signed copies I gave as Christmas presents are highly prized :-)


Whole Foods—such is life in this late age, Whole Foods is the subject of sentences—confronted me with the Gordon Lightfoot recording of “If You Could Read My Mind,” which I’d only known from the radio covers of my childhood and remembered for the pitch-perfect oddness of “ghost from a wishing well.” Anyhow that is cleared up and I have recognized it as a pulverizing song about the end of a marriage. My marriage, thank God, is not ending. These possessions, or relations, whatever they are, are such absolute values that they can very, very easily pull you into the community of suffering when invoked. Dead-kid jokes aren’t funny, tongue-clucking news stories are ice down the spine. All that.

R. goes to a beautiful daycare on the money-cushioned university campus, which I suppose will inflate its grounds and turn into an island on the day the flood comes. It is unlike Star Trek in that babies still get colds and bring them home to their parents, so I took some Tylenol and lay down in the dark, at which point hired laborers came into our yard with a leaf blower. I muttered grumpy half-thoughts into the pillow, what the hell is wrong with a rake, really, this is why we have oil wars and our elected officials swearing on the Bible that a carbon tax would implode the economy, so that leaves can get blown around to no end... then I got up and went out back and found the yard beautifully cleared of weeds. I’ve barely stepped out there in months. I’ve ignored a lot of things. I don’t listen to music without special effort. Once every two months I log into Facebook or Twitter and discover strata of messages meant for me.

Resolving has for me never amounted to much: you are what you are, and the range of variance is only to what extent you are aware of it. Perfect knowledge would presumably add up to perfect silence, and nothing documented ever again. That I don’t have.

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