Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hanako (1751-1977)

'I am often asked how it is that I can tell the age of a fish. As a tree trunk has its annual rings, so a fish has its annual rings on its scales, and we only have to count them to know the age of a fish. As a matter of course, we ourselves cannot do it. It requires the aid of a specialist and the use of a light microscope. Now, what was it that made me think of ascertaining the carp's age? My grandmother on maternal side, who left this world at the advanced age of 93 some eight years ago, is said to have been told by her mother-in-law, "When I was married into this family, my mother in-law said to me, "That carp has been handed down to us from olden times; you must take good care of it"." When I was told this story, I became very curious to know how long the carp had lived. I found out Hanako's age by the before mentioned method, but you may easily imagine how greatly I was grieved when I was forced to take a scale off her beautiful body. I caught her in a net very cautiously, and repeatedly said. "Excuse me!" I took off two scales from different parts of her body by using a strong tweeser. The scales were examined by Prof. Masayoshi Hiro, D.Sc., Laboratory of Domestic Science, Nagoya Women's College. It took two months for him to acquire a satisfactory result. By using the light microscope, he photographed every part of the scales. It seems he took a great deal of trouble. When it was certain beyond doubt that the carp was 215 years old, the two of us exchanged a look of delightful surprise.'
The translation is a little ropey, but I strongly recommend that you read the whole article.

Friday, January 29, 2010

James McIntyre (1828-1906)

I've mentioned this unsung genius before, but thought I might clog up your poetic arteries a little bit more.

Oxford Cheese Ode

The ancient poets ne'er did dream
That Canada was land of cream,
They ne'er imagined it could flow
In this cold land of ice and snow,
Where everything did solid freeze,
They ne'er hoped or looked for cheese.

A few years since our Oxford farms
Were nearly robbed of all their charms,
O'er cropped the weary land grew poor
And nearly barren as a moor,
But now the owners live at ease
Rejoicing in their crop of cheese.

And since they justly treat the soil,
Are well rewarded for their toil,
The land enriched by goodly cows,
Yie'ds plenty now to fill their mows,
Both wheat and barley, oats and peas
But still their greatest boast is cheese.

And you must careful fill your mows
With good provender for your cows,
And in the winter keep them warm,
Protect them safe all time from harm,
For cows do dearly love their ease,
Which doth insure best grade of cheese.

To us it is a glorious theme
To sing of milk and curds and cream,
Were it collected it could float
On its bosom, small steam boat,
Cows numerous as swarm of bees
Are milked in Oxford to make cheese.

If this isn't enough - oh yes, it is plenty, more than enough - then there's more here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Scattering

This is a very good book.

Some you win, some you lose

Partial success. Modified rapture. I now look a lot less like a sheep, or a man with a cat on his head.

On the flip side, I do have an immense quiff. Oh well.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I went to the barber today at seven forty-five; they close at eight. The woman took one look at me and said, 'this is going to take some time, come back tomorrow.' Tomorrow we will see how it goes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vasily Vasilevich Vereshchagin (1842-1904)

Апофеоз войны (The Apotheosis of War, 1871). More here.

Laurie Ángel Potts Healy (2009- )

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eric Rohmer (Jean-Marie Maurice Scherer, 1920-2010)


turned into this,

which ended up as this. One of Hollywood's weirder ideas of the last few years.