Elaine and I are back home after ten days visiting family and friends. “Family and friends”: what a bland phrase, so easily trivialized by the abbreviation ’n’ , so easily commodified into a “plan.” And yet the only words we have for our most important human relationships.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Dr. Van Veen, psychologist, in lecture mode:
Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969).
Nabokov himself famously said that his pencils outlasted their erasers. Not (contra The Atlantic ) in Speak, Memory but in a 1962 interview with unidentified journalists, published in Strong Opinions (1973): “I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”
All OCA Nabokov posts (Pinboard)
By Michael Leddy at 10:55 AM
Thursday, November 26, 2015
[“Thanksgiving Revel in Waldorf Barn: Guests Enjoy a New England Farm Dinner and See Country Dances and Corn Husking.” The New York Times, November 24, 1915.]
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Previous Thanksgiving posts
In jail, 1914 : In jail, 1913 : Thanksgiving and mortality : In jail, 1912 : Competitive eating, 1911 : A 1917 greeting card : A found letter : Sing Sing, 1908 : Sing Sing, 1907
By Michael Leddy at 6:29 AM
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
“The first thing they’d say was, ‘Please tell me you’re keeping the wooden escalators’”: “Macy’s Historic Wooden Escalators Survive Renovation” (The New York Times ).
[Bonus points if you recognize the source of the post title.]
By Michael Leddy at 10:58 AM
The narrator leaves Lincoln, Illinois, to join and his father and stepmother Grace in the big city:
William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980).
Other Maxwell posts
On childhood and familiar objects
On Melville and Cather
By Michael Leddy at 7:46 AM
No deeds now! Listen, linger, remain rooted to the spot. Be divinely touched by something slight.Related reading
Robert Walser, “Tiergarten,” in Berlin Stories , trans. Susan Bernofsky (New York: New York Review Books, 2012).
All OCA Robert Walser posts (Pinboard)
By Michael Leddy at 7:41 AM
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A Variety headline:
Fan Clubs Rated
Worthless to Theatres
As B. O. Gag.
Quoted in H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States , 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936).
Can you figure out what this headline is saying? Mencken gives a paraphrase as it appeared in the Manchester Guardian , January 30, 1930. No spoilers here: it’s in the comments.
Also from The American Language
The American a : The American v. the Englishman : Anglic : “Are you a speed-cop?” : Benjamin Franklin and spelling : B.V.D. : English American English : Franco-American : “[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty” : On professor : Playing policy : Proper names in America : “There are words enough already” : The -thon , dancing and walking Through -thing and -thin’ : Vaudevillians at play : The verb to contact
[Finally made it to the end of this book.]
By Michael Leddy at 7:06 AM