Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Letter to Three Wives (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1949)

They do not, I am as sure as I am sorry, make them like this any more. A great great film.

As a bonus, the French poster. They order this matter better in... &c. &c. &c.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Frank Womack (1888-1968)

Holder of the league appearances record for Birmingham City (491). Holder of the slightly more dubious record of playing 511 games as an outfield player without scoring a goal. More information here.

Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

The Seashell (1912). There's a great exhibition on at the Fundación Mapfre until 29 April. More information about Redon here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simnel Cake

My parents, purveyors of high-class baked goods, are visiting this weekend. As well as six Florentines (well, it was six Florentines for about ten minutes, now it's a number you can cound on the fingers of only one hand) they brought a simnel cake. Traditional simnel cakes have balls of marzipan on top: either eleven (to represent the twelve apostles minus Judas) or thirteen (to represent the twelve apostles plus Christ). This variant has thirty-nine chocolate Easter eggs. Aside from the troubling theological implications (unless this was a deliberate homage to the 39 Articles), I think this is an improvement.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Marcel Millet (c.1895-c.1950)

More information (in French, from - sacré bleu - the Militant Anarchists website) içi.

Chéri Hérouard (1881-1961)

More information here.

André Foy (c.1880-c.1950)

Very little information available. He worked a lot for Le canard enchaîné, whose current website is here.

Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)

More information here.

Friday, April 06, 2012

World's Most Endangered Duck

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Meshullam Depiera (early C.13th - after 1260)

How Could You Press For Song

How could you press for song from me,
    when my tongue is tied and I'm unworthy,
and pleasure now is gone from poetry,
    until Time restores it to me.
And since my flute's music was halted,
    my mind was settled on the Talmud's mystery;
the Midrash is what I seek out instead,
    and the Mishnah's become a shelter to me:
I study the rules of prayer before standing,
    bequeathal's laws in the Order of Owning,
confronting the Book of Creation's secrets
    and probing the seven letters' doubling.
What good is the verb's declension and pattern?
    Do conjugations make things happen?
Can quadrilateral forms of the verb
    teach us of arcs and expanses of circles?
Has grammar ever made a man wise?
    Are pedants appointed to lead the people?
All their distinctions just weary the spirit.
    There's nothing of worth within their linguistics
(though morphology's known to the masters of Scripture),
    and so they come to the greatness of prophets
with the wisdom of letters - hard and soft -
    hoping that grammar might cut through their haze,
or the comments of Qimhi, of blessed memory,
    and the wise one of Fez, whom they all praise.
The fight over roots and the weaving of words
    is the sole achievement of the winged-one's age.
With dots and lines they live out their days;
    their hearts heavy, they labour in vain -
for seeing the word's form is sufficient
    to know its gender and how it should change.
What are those shifting verbs to me -
    full and hollow, weak and strong?
Only eternity, and with it my honour,
    moves through me with dance-like song.

Yedi'ot HaMakhnon leHeqer HaShira Ha'Ivrit 4, no. 16, ll. 32-end. From the great great anthology of Spanish Hebrew poetry, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492, translated and edited by Peter Cole. Look it out, you won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Spot the Difference!

Bath Oliver

Oliver in the Bath

Monday, April 02, 2012

Nobel Prize 5: Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916)

ON leaving Cæsar, Petronius had himself borne to his house on the Carinæ, which, being surrounded on three sides by a garden, and having in front the small Cecilian Forum, escaped the fire luckily. For this cause other Augustians, who had lost their houses and in them vast wealth and many works of art, called Petronius fortunate. For years it had been repeated that he was the first-born of Fortune, and Cæsar's growing friendship in recent times seemed to confirm the correctness of this statement.

But that first-born of Fortune might meditate now on the fickleness of his mother, or rather on her likeness to Chronos, who devoured his own children.

"Were my house burnt," said he to himself, "and with it my gems, Etruscan vases, Alexandrian glass, and Corinthian bronze, Nero might indeed have forgotten the offence. By Pollux! And to think that it depended on me alone to be pretorian prefect at this moment. I should proclaim Tigellinus the incendiary, which he is really; I should array him in the 'painful tunic,' and deliver him to the populace, protect the Christians, rebuild Rome. Who knows even if a better epoch would not begin thus for honest people? I ought to have taken the office, simply out of regard for Vinicius. In case of overwork I could have surrendered command to him, and Nero would not have even tried to resist. Then let Vinicius baptize all the pretorians, nay, Cæsar himself; what harm could that be to me? Nero pious, Nero virtuous and merciful,—this would be even an amusing spectacle."

And his carelessness was so great that he began to laugh. But after a time his thoughts turned in another direction. It seemed to him that he was in Antium; that Paul of Tarsus was saying to him, "Ye call us enemies of life, but answer me, Petronius: If Cæsar were a Christian, and acted according to our religion, would not life be safer and more certain?"

More information here.

Next time: Giosuè Carducci.

Xul Solar (1887-1963)

More information here.