Thursday, December 12, 2019


Representative Matt Gaetz (R, Florida-1) just referred to the Rorkshire — or was it Yorkshire? — inkblot test.

[It’s Rorschach.]

“The Standing Family Joke”

Seymour’s take on his brother Buddy’s fiction:

J.D. Salinger, Seymour: An Introduction (1963).

Buddy Glass, writer, bears a more than passing resemblance to a certain Salinger.

Related reading
All OCA Salinger posts (Pinboard)

Nadler’s Jotter

The New York Times has an array of photographs online, “Inside the Private Moments of Impeachment.” Among those (semi-private?) moments: Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, New York-10) signing draft articles of impeachment with a Parker T-Ball Jotter. Go to the Times the full photograph.

Related reading
Other Parker T-Ball Jotter posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


In the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Doug Collins (R, Georgia-9) must really be losing it. He just referred to the Democratic (not “Democrat”) Party.

M-W’s Word of the Day

For an English major of a certain age, sodden , like sempiternal , immediately suggests T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”:

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown
Other words, other works of lit
Apoplexy, avatar, bandbox, heifer, sanguine, sempiternal : Artificer : Expiate : Fuliginous : Gutta-percha : Ineluctable : Iridescent : Magnifico : Opusculum : Palaver

Borrowing privileges

Inside Higher Ed asks, “How many books should a professor be able to check out?” I take no position on the borrowing privileges described therein. But reading the article made me recall a happy moment from Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story Mountain (1948).

The scene: the library at St. Bonaventure College (now St. Bonaventure University). Robert Lax is introducing his friends Merton and Ed Rice to Father Irenaeus Herscher, the college’s librarian:

“They were at Columbia too,” said Lax.

“Ah, Columbia,” said Father Irenaeus. “I studied at the Columbia Library School,” and then he took us into his own library and with reckless trust abandoned all the shelves to us. It never occurred to him to place any limit upon the appetites of those who seemed to like books. If they wanted books, well, this was a library. He had plenty of books, that was what a library was for. You could take as many as you liked, and keep them until you were through: he was astonishingly free of red tape, this happy little Franciscan. . . .

Presently we came out of the stacks with our arms full.

“May we take all these, Father?”

“Sure, sure, that’s fine, help yourself.”

We signed a vague sort of a ticket, and shook hands.

“Good-bye, Mr. Myrtle,” said the Friar, and stood in the open door and folded his hands as we started down the steps with our spoils.
Merton adds:
As far as I know, Father Irenaeus has never been robbed of his books on a larger scale than any other librarian, and on the whole, the little library at Saint Bonaventure’s was always one of the most orderly and peaceful I have ever seen.
No wonder: εἰρήνη [eiréné ] means “peace.”

Related reading
All OCA Merton posts (Pinboard)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Recently updated

Words of the year Now with they.

Joyce in LA

In Los Angeles, Charlene Matthews, bookbinder, has written out the text of James Joyce’s Ulysses on thirty-eight ship dowels.

Thanks, Sean.

Related reading
All OCA Joyce posts (Pinboard)

Proust in SF

“I am into this kind of thing”: Nathalie Vanderlinden is reading Proust aloud, in French, in San Francisco BART stations.

Related reading
All OCA Proust posts (Pinboard)

Brother Thelonious

“With all the interest in Belgian ales and in the monasteries that brew them, it’s time to remind the world that here in the U.S. we have a Monk of our own”: Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale is licensed under an agreement with the Thelonious Monk Estate.

When I saw this ale in our beverage mart, I did a doubletake. When I saw the ABV — 9.4% — I did another.

Related reading
All OCA Monk posts (Pinboard)