Book of the World Courant CLXIX







Turn, turn, turn again…














Around a century ago, these sentiments were chiseled on twin marble plaques mounted high above the respective Pierrepont and Montague Street entrances of the block-through Brooklyn Trust Company bank building (now Chase) on the border of Brooklyn Heights and the civic center.

One can read them today, popping plastic into the ATM slot, then letting one’s gaze drift through the vast windows onto Clinton Street and across onto the terracotta façade of the Brooklyn Historical Society. Whose heads are those, larger than life, in terracotta high relief two stories up and looking down on you? Why none other than Shakespeare, Beethoven, Michelangelo and some fellow in a funny hat. Who turns out to be Gutenberg. And above them, incised big and bold, the Ciceronian motto: HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM.

And yes, you believe she does.


Climb every mountain

Ford every stream

Follow every rainbow

Defy every wind

Outride every tempest

Invade every zone…








And ah, magical thinking, which partakes neither of magic nor thought


The conditions, dark and mazelike, created a perfect situation for the fire. [New York Times caption for a photo of the ruins of the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, CA, 12/7/16, A: 16]

The article goes on, oddly in present tense: “Part of the bonding experience is in maintaining the charade that nobody lives there.”


Go ask Alice




Lloyds of Leningrad


Cloud-based feudalism


Conditions, dark and mazelike…


Big Oink Theory


Put “dark” and “mazelike” together and voilà, spontaneous combustion.

Any boy scout’ll tell you that…


Your Cloud, does it rain?


Sound the reTweet!®


Conditions, dark and mazelike…


First they came for the Labradoodles

But I was not a Labradoodle

So I did not bark, or bite, or even shed much dander

Then they came for the sweet

But I was salty, so I kept my mouth shut

Then they came for the cold

But I was windy

Next they came for the Ring Cycle

But I was Parsifal…


Wurst dey kame für Das Rheingold, bud Ich vas zo much weiser den…

Ich junger (junker) den dot nao…


Surely you gestate


From the street, the sound of a police car siren that is no longer a siren, more like the utterance of a mechanical ruminant: part low, part bellow.


Mirada fuerte, literally “strong gazing,” an Andalusian term dating from the 19th century or earlier. “When the Andalusian fixes a thing with a stare, he grasps it. His eyes are fingers holding and probing…” [David Gilmore, Aggression and Community: Paradoxes of Andalusian Culture, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987, p. 161]




Tendency toward love


Blocking of Pipeline Could Hurt North Dakota. So runs a New York Times headline of December 9, 2016.

Whatever does the Times mean by “North Dakota.” Is it used as a geographic designation, or a political one? Does it refer to the “people of?”

Scanning down: “The biggest loser is the state of North Dakota,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

How so, Ron?

“Companies are not going to get as good a price for their Bakken [shale oil field] barrels. It’s a significant impact on their revenues.” Aha. That which hurts “companies” is that which hurts North Dakota. Now it all makes sense.


Baku, mon amour.

Or Bakken, take your pick.


The biggest loser


Front page obit for John Glenn, “American Hero of the Space Age” and “Freckle-faced son of Ohio.” In the b/w photo of Glenn stands fully-suited before the cute, truly cute corrugated metal space capsule, emblazoned with the stars and stripes, the words United States and Friendship 7.

Ah friendship, ah space. Ah, discovery. Ah, the (final) frontier. Ah, the good ship Amistad.


Energy Trends Outpace Plans For the E.P.A.: Coal Jobs Fade Away [like old soldiers?] But Not the Pollution. [NYT, 12/9/16, B1:4]

A column inch and a half downpage, it is revealed that “energy trends” is synonymous with “market forces.”


What do we/they mean by North Dakota, or City of New Orleans, or City of Oakland? How are these entities constituted politically and at the level of language and imagination? What is the relation among them as ideas of place, actual, experiencable locales, and administrative zones?

What aporias or slippages in thought, meaning and action make it possible for a “city,” as a unit of government – the City of Oakland in this case – to spend more than thirty years not inspecting one of its most visible and visibly precarious structures?


I was a cavalier attitude for the FBI

Dakota, mon amour. Dakota.


Ghost Ship


Ghost Dance


Slave ship




And Indian Affairs – more than enough to fill a whole Bureau


Dakota: translated as “friend,” “friendly,” “allies,” in certain dialects of Lakota Sioux


Friendship 7




Geist-ing the Zeit


Know thy shadow as thyself


The worship of the [Egyptian] sun god as creator and sustainer of the world became increasingly important during the course of Dynasty XVIII. Even the dead turned to him: small statuettes set into the niches of pyramidal tomb superstructures show the deceased praying or holding a stele inscribed with the wish to see the sun at its rising. [Karl-Heinz Priese, “The Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection,” Masterpieces of the Pergamon and Bode Museum, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1995, p. 24]


English as a foreign language

Alien maybe even


Language as a foreign language


As fans gathered on Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, Al Roker pulled up in a big red delivery truck, ready to give America what it wanted: Twinkies.

The snack cakes few through the air into the crowd pressed against metal barriers. One man shoved cream-filled treats into his mouth. Another “Today” host tucked Twinkies into the neckline of her dress.

Across the nation in the summer of 2013, there was a feeding frenzy for Twinkies. The iconic snack cake returned to shelves just months after Hostess had shuttered its bakeries and laid off thousands of workers. The return was billed on “Today” as “the sweetest comeback in the history of ever.”

Nowhere was it sweeter, perhaps, than a the investment firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Company, which spent $186 million in cash to buy some of Hostess’s snack cake bakeries and brands in early 2013.

Less than four years later, they sold the company in a deal that valued Hostess at $2.3 billion. Apollo and Metropoulos have now reaped a return totaling 13 times their original cash investment.

Behind the financial maneuvering at Hostess, an investigation by the New York Times found a blueprint for how private equity executives like those at Apollo have amassed some of the greatest fortunes in the modern era… [Michael Corkery and Ben Protess. “How the Twinkie Made the Superrich Even Richer: Examining Private Equity’s Accumulation of Wealth.” New York Times, 12/11/16. A1:1]


A man, a plan, a Twinkie®


Is it any Wonder?


Showtime at the Metropoulos


The political establishment has made an entire generation of young white men and women into fascists, and that’s a beautiful thing! Quoth Michael Heimbach, 25, of Paoli, IN, who, according to the Times, runs the Traditionalist Worker Party out of the trailer in which he lives.

We don’t have any power – but now we’re close enough to smell it, sez Gerald Martin, a “retired teacher from Dallas and veteran of white supremacist movements.” [“An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastika.” NYT, 12/11/16. A1:1]




Wake up and smell the lacuna


One man shoved cream-filled treats into his mouth


Fascism: the sweetest comeback in the history of ever


Is it any Wonder?®


Where have you been, my blue-haired son?


A rising tide lifts all lacunae

Here in Lacunae Beach


There’s a little bit of Trump in every cream-filled Tweet® treat


Another “Today” host[ess] tucked Twinkies into the neckline of her dress


Is it just the acoustics here, or when people greet each other, are they saying Hi, horror you?