coitusy of the united states

    “A spent lover always says ‘Excuse me’ when practicing the art of coitusy.”
    —Ron Barrett, “Politeness Man”, National Lampoon

He opened the door, shut it, and leaned back against it, his head raised as if for air. My God, he said, the fucking Queen of England. I mean, I’m—somewhere in the back of his memory, in one of those disorderly trunks of unfiled information, he fished out the law that specified the remaining crimes for which hanging was stipulated and recalled something dating back to the Treason Act in the fourteenth century about “violating” a royal figure. Great God, thought Blackford. What about when you—he could not bring himself even to think of the word under the circumstances—do it with… the goddamn Queen herself!
    He sat down and, briefly, began to laugh.

OAKES, Blackford. Foundation official. Born, Yellow Springs, Ohio, December 7, 1925. Schools: Scarsdale H.S, Yale (’51). Executed, 1952, for viol. fornication provisions of Treason Act of 1351.

Continue reading coitusy of the united states

coitusy of the united states

    “A spent lover always says ‘Excuse me’ when practicing the art of coitusy.”
    —Ron Barrett, “Politeness Man”, National Lampoon

He opened the door, shut it, and leaned back against it, his head raised as if for air. My God, he said, the fucking Queen of England. I mean, I’m—somewhere in the back of his memory, in one of those disorderly trunks of unfiled information, he fished out the law that specified the remaining crimes for which hanging was stipulated and recalled something dating back to the Treason Act in the fourteenth century about “violating” a royal figure. Great God, thought Blackford. What about when you—he could not bring himself even to think of the word under the circumstances—do it with… the goddamn Queen herself!
    He sat down and, briefly, began to laugh.

OAKES, Blackford. Foundation official. Born, Yellow Springs, Ohio, December 7, 1925. Schools: Scarsdale H.S, Yale (’51). Executed, 1952, for viol. fornication provisions of Treason Act of 1351.

Continue reading coitusy of the united states

le monde et le pantalon

    NAGG. ― Ecoute-la encore. (Voix de raconteur.) Un Anglais ― (il prend un visage d’Anglais, reprend le sien) ayant besoin d’un pantalon rayé en vitesse pour les fêtes du Nouvel An se rend chez son tailleur qui lui prend ses mesures. (Voix du tailleur.) « Et voilà qui est fait, revenez dans quatre jours, il sera prêt. » Bon. Quatre jours plus tard. (Voix du tailleur.) « Sorry, revenez dans huit jours, j’ai raté le fond. » Bon, ça va, le fond, c’est pas commode. Huit jours plus tard. (Voix du tailleur.) « Désolé, revenez dans dix jours, j’ai salopé l’entre-jambes. » Bon, d’accord, l’entre-jambes, c’est délicat. Dix jours plus tard. (Voix du tailleur.) « Navré, revenez dans quinze jours, j’ai bousillé la braguette. » Bon, à la rigueur, une belle braguette, c’est calé. (Un temps. Voix normale.) Je la raconte mal. (Un temps. Voix de raconteur.) Enfin bref, de faufil en aiguille, voici Pâques Fleuries et il loupe les boutonnières. (Visage, puis voix du client.) « Goddam Sir, non, vraiment, c’est indécent, à la fin ! En six jours, vous entendez, six jours, Dieu fit le monde. Oui Monsieur, parfaitement Monsieur, le MONDE ! Et vous, vous n’êtes pas foutu de me faire un pantalon en trois mois ! » (Voix du tailleur, scandalisée.) « Mais Milord ! Mais Milord ! Regardez ― (geste méprisant, avec dégoût) ― le monde… (un temps)… et regardez ― (geste amoureux, avec orgueil) ― mon PANTALON ! »

Un temps. Il fixe Nell resté impassible, les yeux vagues, part d’un rire forcé et aigu, le coupe, avance la tête vers Nell, lance de nouveau son rire.

    HAMM. ― Assez !

Nagg sursaute, coupe son rire.

―Samuel Beckett, Fin de partie, Les Éditions de Minuit, 1957, pp. 36-38

NAGG:
    Let me tell it again.
    (Raconteur’s voice.)
    An Englishman, needing a pair of striped trousers in a hurry for the New Year festivities, goes to his tailor who takes his measurements.
    (Tailor’s voice.)
    “That’s the lot, come back in four days, I’ll have it ready.” Good. Four days later.
    (Tailor’s voice.) “So sorry, come back in a week, I’ve made a mess of the seat.” Good, that’s all right, a neat seat can be very ticklish. A week later.
    (Tailor’s voice.)
    “Frightfully sorry, come back in ten days, I’ve made a hash of the crotch.” Good, can’t be helped, a snug crotch is always a teaser. Ten days later.
    (Tailor’s voice.)
    “Dreadfully sorry, come back in a fortnight, I’ve made a balls of the fly.” Good, at a pinch, a smart fly is a stiff proposition.
    (Pause. Normal voice.)
    I never told it worse.
    (Pause. Gloomy.)
    I tell this story worse and worse.
    (Pause. Raconteur’s voice.)
    Well, to make it short, the bluebells are blowing and he ballockses the buttonholes.
    (Customer’s voice.)
    “God damn you to hell, Sir, no, it’s indecent, there are limits! In six days, do you hear me, six days, God made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of making me a pair of trousers in three months!”
    (Tailor’s voice, scandalized.)
    “But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look―
    (disdainful gesture, disgustedly)
    ―at the world―
    (pause)
    and look―
    (loving gesture, proudly)
    ―at my TROUSERS!”
    (Pause. He looks at Nell who has remained impassive, her eyes unseeing, breaks into a high forced laugh, cuts it short, pokes his head towards Nell, launches his laugh again.)
HAMM:
    Silence!
    (Nagg starts, cuts short his laugh.)

―Samuel Beckett, Endgame and Act Without Words, Grove Press; Reissue edition (1970) pp. 22-23

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isolation

« En amour, la seule victoire, c’est la fuite. »        
― Napoléon Bonaparte        

Pendant la première partie de sa vie, on ne se rend compte de son bonheur qu’après l’avoir perdu. Puis vient un âge, un âge second, où l’on sait déjà, au moment où l’on commence à vivre un bonheur, que l’on va, au bout du compte, le perdre. Lorsque je rencontrai Belle, je compris que je venais d’entrer dans cet âge second. Je compris également que je n’avais pas atteint l’âge tiers, celui de la vieillesse véritable, où l’anticipation de la perte du bonheur empêche même de le vivre.
― Michel Houellebecq, La possibilité d’une île, Fayard, 2005, p. 173; voir aussi l’entretien du 25 août 2005 et La fracture Houellebecq de 27 octobre 2005, publiés dans Le Nouvel Observateur
During the first part of his life, one becomes aware of his happiness only after having lost it. Then comes an age, a second age, when one already knows, as soon as he starts to live in happiness, that he is going to end up losing it. When I met Belle, I understood that I had just entered this second age. I also understood that I had not reached the third age, that of true infirmity, when the anticipation of losing happiness altogether prevents one from living it.
― translated by MZ


Rembrandt van Rijn, Susanna and the Elders, 1647, Mahogany, 76.6 x 92.7 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

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12. role models

― in living memory of my father        

ecce respondeo dicenti, ‘quid faciebat deus antequam faceret caelum et terram?’ respondeo non illud quod quidam respondisse perhibetur, ioculariter eludens quaestionis violentiam: ‘alta,’ inquit, ‘scrutantibus gehennas parabat.’ aliud est videre, aliud ridere: haec non respondeo.

— Aurelius Augustinus, Confessiones

See, I answer him that asketh, “What did God before He made heaven and earth?” I answer not as one is said to have done merrily (eluding the pressure of the question), “He was preparing hell (saith he) for pryers into mysteries.” It is one thing to answer enquiries, another to make sport of enquirers. So I answer not.

— Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

La Fontaine, entendant plaindre le sort des damnés au milieu du feu de l’Enfer, dit : « Je me flatte qu’ils s’y accoutument, et qu’à la fin, ils sont là comme le poisson dans l’eau. »

— Chamfort, Maximes et Pensées, Caractères et Anecdotes

La Fontaine, hearing complaints of the lot of the damned in the midst of hellfire, said: “I trust that they get accustomed to it, and that in the end, they rest there as fish in water.”

— Chamfort, Maxims and Thoughts, Characters and Anecdotes

     FEU. Purifie tout. — Quand on entend crier « au feu », on doit commencer par perdre la tête.

— Gustave Flaubert, Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues

FIRE. Purifies everything. — Upon hearing the cry of “Fire!”, one must begin by losing his head.

— Gustave Flaubert, Dictionary of Received Ideas
     Il y a du Dante, en effet, dans l’auteur des Fleurs du Mal, mais c’est du Dante d’une époque déchue, c’est du Dante athée et moderne, du Dante venu après Voltaire, dans un temps qui n’aura point de saint Thomas.

— Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly, Les Poètes

There is Dante, in effect, in the author of the Flowers of Evil, but it is a Dante of the fallen era, an atheistic and modern Dante, a Dante who comes after Voltaire, in a time that will have no saint Thomas.

— Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly, The Poets[0]

1978 years ago, Jesus welcomed all men to partake of his company:[1]

Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

His words are echoed and amplified through our God-fearing land. The authority of the Son of God is buttressed by the all too human urge to connect with a role model of one’s choosing. Continue reading 12. role models

whining or withstanding

Nil igitur mors est ad nos neque pertinet hilum,
quandoquidem natura animi mortalis habetur.
Titus Lucretius Carus, De Rerum Natura 3.830-831

τὸ μὲν οὖν ταῦτα διισχυρίσασθαι οὕτως ἔχειν ὡς ἐγὼ διελήλυθα, οὐ πρέπει νοῦν ἔχοντι ἀνδρί: ὅτι μέντοι ἢ ταῦτ’ ἐστὶν ἢ τοιαῦτ’ ἄττα περὶ τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν καὶ τὰς οἰκήσεις, ἐπείπερ ἀθάνατόν γε ἡ ψυχὴ φαίνεται οὖσα, τοῦτο καὶ πρέπειν μοι δοκεῖ καὶ ἄξιον κινδυνεῦσαι οἰομένῳ οὕτως ἔχειν―καλὸς γὰρ ὁ κίνδυνος―καὶ χρὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα ὥσπερ ἐπᾴδειν ἑαυτῷ, διὸ δὴ ἔγωγε καὶ πάλαι μηκύνω τὸν μῦθον.
― Plato, Phaedo, 114d
Now to insist that these things are just as I’ve related them would not be fitting for a man of intelligence; but either this or something like it is true about our souls and their dwellings, given that the soul evidently is immortal, this, I think, is fitting and worth risking, for one who believes that it is so — for a noble risk it is — so one should repeat such things to oneself like a spell; which is just why I’ve so prolonged the tale.
― translated by David Gallop

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family values II

― for Victor Yodaiken        

ἔτι καὶ αἱ παροιμίαι, ὥσπερ εἴρηται, μαρτύριά εἰσιν, οἷον εἴ τις συμβουλεύει μὴ ποιεῖσθαι φίλον γέροντα, τούτῳ μαρτυρεῖ ἡ παροιμία, μήποτ’ εὖ ἔρδειν γέροντα.

― Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1376a

Further, proverbs, as stated, are evidence; for instance, if one man advises another not to make a friend of an old man, he can appeal to the proverb, Never do good to an old man.

― translated by J. H. Freese

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

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heartfelt diplomacy

    The following exchange is traditionally attributed as the demand for fealty made by the Turkish sultan Mehmet IV (1642—1693) to the Zaporozhian Dnieper Cossacks, followed by the answer given by the Cossacks and their chieftain Ivan Sirko (1605?—1680).
    Son of sultan Ibrahim I born of and brought up by his Russian concubine Turhan Hatice, Mehmet IV ascended to the Ottoman throne following the assassination of his father in 1648. His reign witnessed great military victories against Venice, Transylvania, and Poland. However, his ambition to extend his rule into Podolia and Ukraine in the East, and Austria and Hungary in the West, was thwarted on September 12 of 1683 by the rout of the Ottoman armies at the walls of Vienna, at the hands of the coalition led by Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine and king Jan III Sobieski of Poland. In the wake of a further defeat in 1687 at Mohacs, inflicted by the Holy League led by Charles V of Lorraine, Mehmet IV was deposed and imprisoned by his council. He lived out his days with two concubines, confined in quarters overlooking his favorite hunting grounds.
    Cossack chieftain Ivan Sirko distinguished himself in campaigns against Poland, the Ottoman Empire, and Crimean Tatars, accompanied by constant fluctuation in principles and alliances. A characteristic episode in his military exploits has him liberating seven thousand Christian prisoners from Moslem captivity. To these beneficiaries of his martial prowess Sirko offered a choice between accompanying his Cossacks to Rus, and returning to their original Crimean homes. He then dispatched his trops to slaughter three thousand Christians that chose to return to their homes instead of starting from scratch amongst the Cossacks. Surveying the ensuing carnage, the heroic chieftain spoke: Forgive us, brothers, and sleep here until the Last Judgment of our Lord, lest you multiply in the Crimea amongst the infidel, vexing our brave spirits, and causing your eternal unbaptized damnation. (Простите нас, братья, а сами спите тут до страшного Господнего суда, чем размножаться вам в Крыму между бусурманами на наши молодецкие головы, а на свою вечную без крещения погибель.) This amalgam of pragmatic interest in preempting the reproduction of potential enemies with altruistic concern for saving Christian souls provides a vivid illustration of the Cossack chieftain’s favorite saying: «Нужда закон змінює», need will amend law. Today, this intrepid Cossack hero is celebrated in official Ukrainian coinage. Continue reading heartfelt diplomacy