The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'The Ineffable'

John Michell

April 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

One of the grand old men of British forteana, John Michell, died on April 24.  I only met him a few times; he was always kind and gracious.  The last time I saw him, we discussed our common fascination with the number 5040 (Plato’s ideal population for the Republic, among other things).  He was a fine writer […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature · The Ineffable

Alfred Jarry in the Medical Museum

April 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Jarry?  In the medical museum?  It’s a funny place to find him, but there he is: the following prose poem, “Les Cinq Sens” (“The Five Senses”), is taken from his first book, Les Minutes de sable mémorial (Minutes of memorial sand, 1894).  In it, the narrator makes his way through a natural history museum into a […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature · Places · The Ineffable

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (2)

February 20th, 2009 · 5 Comments

[We resume the serialization of my talk on the cultural hurly-burly that greeted Darwin’s theories.  As we open this section, our animal friends are really going at it.] Lions and tigers make ligers and tigons; camels and llamas make camas; antelopes give taxonomists nightmares.  Mules have been known to foal baby mules; yaks, bison, and […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Misconceptions · Politics · The Ineffable

Philosophy: A Shameful Sonnet

November 13th, 2008 · 1 Comment

The sonnet is a neglected form these days.  Verse of all stripes is unpopular — at least under that name, although it still defines popular music.  It’s all in the branding, I suppose. And current taste often brands the sonnet as precious, artificial, or old-fashioned.  Fair enough; although you could tar most American entertainment genres with […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Literature · Symbols · The Ineffable

The Spinning Bottle (2)

September 4th, 2008 · 4 Comments

We have another unexpected encounter, another fleeting kiss of incongruities.  All is chaos and continuity, at least sometimes. RICHARD SHAVER AND ALBERT EINSTEIN Richard Shaver — the visionary pulp fictioneer and painter — and Albert Einstein — the mathematical mystic and physics pioneer — were very different men.  They moved in different circles.  But they […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · The Ineffable

The Spinning Bottle (1)

July 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

As we gape at the continuity and chaos of the world, a chance meeting draws our attention. One way to approach the ineffable is to consider the mismatched pairs that time and space have thrown together. Here’s one. ERIK SATIE AND LE PÉTOMANE Satie is sometimes depicted as a sort of musical monk, writing his radically simple […]

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Tags: Music · The Ineffable

The Window

June 5th, 2008 · 3 Comments

During a dark night — both literal and figurative — I came across this passage, which I now translate: “Those who say that life is no more than an assemblage of misfortunes must find life itself a misfortune. If it is, then death is a blessing. People do not write such things when they have […]

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Tags: Literature · The Ineffable