Saturday, October 26, 2013


Umberto Eco, tr. Geoffrey Brock, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (Harcourt, 2004) p. 216
Back at the house, I had a craving for an apple, and I entered the lower rooms of the central wing.  Strolling among the fruits and vegetables, I noticed that some of the large rooms on the ground floor were being used for storage and that in the back of one room were stacks of deck chairs.  I carried one into the yard.  I sat down facing the panorama, skimmed the newspapers, realized I was barely interested in the present, turned the chair around, and began looking at the front of the house and the hills behind it.  I asked myself what I was looking for, what I wanted, would it not be enough to sit here looking at that hill that is so beautiful, as the novel said, what was it called?  To raise three pavilions, Lord, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, and loaf without a past and without a future.  Perhaps that is what paradise is like.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How To Boil A Frog

Gore Vidal, Creation pp 398-9
The prime minister received each petitioner with a quiet courtesy that was entirely unlike his fierce political views.  He was shrewd enough to know that you can never enslave a reluctant people without first charming them.  Certainly, you must convince them that your way is their way and that the chains which you have forged for them are necessary ornaments.  In a sense, the Great Kings have always realized this.  From Cyrus to our current enlightened lord, Artaxerxes, the diverse peoples  of the empire are allowed to live pretty much as they have always lived, change for which he gives them safety and law.  Huan had managed to convince the admittedly barbarous and remote Ch'inese that although there had once been a golden age when men were free to live as they pleased, that age ended when -- and how he loved to use the phrase! -- "there were too many people and too few things."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


"O! what a prodigal have I been of that most valuable of all possessions—Time!"

- The final words of the Second Duke of Buckingham