Book of the World Courant CLXXXIX

Heinrich Lautensack (1522-1568). Anatomical Study, from Des Circkles und Richtscheyts, aus der Perspectiva und Proportion der Menschen (Of circles and right angles, also on perspective and human proportion), 1564. Woodcut. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Heinrich Lautensack (1522-1568). Anatomical Study, from Des Circkles und Richtscheyts, aus der Perspectiva und Proportion der Menschen (Of circles and right angles, also on perspective and human proportion), 1564. Woodcut. Metropolitan Museum of Art.




I’ve been sent an unsolicited photo of a penis. How do I respond?

Are you the unhappy owner of an unwanted dick pic? There are a few next steps for you to choose from, from ridicule to revenge. [Headline and lede, The Guardian online, 3/3/17]


A day without penises


Boil, boil…


Will Snap’s Value Disappear?

Investors Focus on the Positive

Snapchat is a business built in large part on disappearing messages and adding animated dog ears and flower crowns to users’ selfies.

As of Thursday, that business is worth about $34 billion… [Headline, lede and opening lines, NYT, 3/3/13, A1:6]


Melania Trump Reads Dr. Seuss to Sick Children

WASHINGTON – Melania Trump made her first solo foray in public as first lady on Thursday, visiting a hospital pediatric ward to read to sick children…?”

“So you know what is today?” she asked the children, who wore hospital gowns and gathered in a playroom in the pediatric wing of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan…

“It’s a reading day. So I came to encourage you to read, and to think about what you want to achieve in life.”

Mrs. Trump, whose aides had arranged for a small pool of reporters and photographers to cover the visit, then proceeded to read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” a Dr. Seuss classic with an inspirational message that she said was a favorite of hers.

“You’ll be as famous as famous can be,” Mrs. Trump read from the book, “With the whole wide world watching you on TV.” [from somewhere in the dark heart of the 3/3/17 Times A section]


SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch: Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

Second Witch: Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch: Harpier cries ‘Tis time, ‘tis time.

First Witch: Round about the cauldron go;

In the poison’d entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first I’ the charmed pot.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg’d I’ the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter HECATE to the other three Witches

HECATE: O well done! I commend your pains;

And every one shall share I’ the gains;

And now about the cauldron sing,

Live elves and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all that you put in.

Music and a song: ‘Black spirits,’ & c

HECATE retires

Second Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks!



Of things that make the myriad things move, none is swifter than Thunder. Of things that make the myriad things bend, none is swifter than Wind. Of things that make the myriad things dry, none is a better drying agent than Fire. Of things that make the myriad things rejoice, none is more joy giving than Lake. Of things that moisten the myriad things, none is more effective than Water. Of things that provide the myriad things with ends and beginnings, none is more resourceful than Restraint [Mountain]. That is why Water and Fire drive each other on, why Thunder and Wind do not work against each other, and why Mountain and Lake reciprocally circulate. [Bisio, op. cit. p. 95-96 citing Wang Bi’s description of the ba gua]

            Mountain and Lake can also represent human interaction. The Mountain is solitary, aloof, and restrained, while the Lake represents gathering together, the delight and joy of human interaction. [ibid.]


The chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), who decided to have it built in 1477. It has the same proportions as the Temple of Solomon constructed in Jerusalem in the tenth century BC, being 40.23 metres long, 20.7 metres high and 13.41 meters wide, almost the same as those recorded in the Bible in the Book of Kings (60 x 30 x 20 cubits).

Sixtus IV had wished to repeat the dimensions of the Temple of Solomon in order to demonstrate that there is no opposition between the Jewish and Christian religions and that the one is the continuation of the other. [Enrico Bruschini. Liz Heron, trans. The Vatican Masterpieces, London: Scala Publishers, Ltd., 2004, p. 87]


Bile them cabbage




I was a struggling retail sector for the FBI


I was an intransigent verb for the…


Some years prior to the installation of the Bronze Bull of Bowling Green, the Director General and Council of New Netherland issued a notice: To all who hear, see or read these presents. Greeting. Experience has shown that this decayed fortress, formerly in fair condition, has mostly been trodden down by hogs, goats and sheep and we are now engaged, in obedience to our Masters Patroons, in reparing the same, but it is to be feared that the fort may again be damaged by goats, sheep, hogs or other animals climbing the walls. – Therefore the Director General and Council hereby warn all and every inhabitant of this place, not to allow hogs, sheep, goats, horses or cows to run free between the Fort, the Company’s Bouwery at the end of the Heeren Wegh [Broadway] now tenanted by Thomas Hall, and the house of Master Isaack Allerton, without herder or driver, except within their closed fences, under a fine of 6 florins for the first time for each horse, cow, etc. found within the aforesaid limits on the public streets near the Fort, twice as much for the second time and confiscation of all for the third time. Thus done etc. June 27, 1650.


$6 Foot-long Subway® Sub-of-the-Day: Sweet onion chicken teriyaki…


What you doing up so blight and oily?


With fifty thousand of ‘em on the NYC streets, one’s chances get better every day of ending up unter an Uber


The literal abuse, misuse, of the word “literal.”


Strategoi: erroneous (or strategic) Gk. misspelling of Old Yiddish “strategoy,” meaning gentile generals hired to confound the barbarians…


I almost drowned, littorally…


Patience is not passive


Fish-flavored coffee: carpuccino


Language itself is the slippery slope


Lust for life


D. J. Drumpf’s Pestilential Reel


Dead signifiers wilding


Give your hardened souls to me

And life will always be

La viande rose

And Lady Mondogreen


Universal standards aren’t


They tell me Billie Joe Maimonides jumped off the Guadalquivir Bridge


Breaking news: Billie Joe Machiavelli’s jumped off the Oltrarno Bridge!


‘Scuse me while I kiss this spy…


It is said that one day in Milan, in 1841,Verdi and Bartolomeo Merelli, impresario of La Scala met by chance on the street near the opera house. Merelli was carrying Temistiocle Solera’s libretto for Nabucco.It had just been rejected by the composer Otto Nicolai so Merelli handed it off to Verdi who, in his own words “took it home and threw it on the table with an almost violent gesture… In falling, it had opened of itself; without my realising it, my eyes clung to the open page and to one special line: ‘Va pensiero, sull’ ali dorate,’” (Fly, thought, on golden wings).


Dive, thoughts, down to my soul:

Here Clarence comes…


I was a wanton ambling nymph for the FBI


Twenty fleshtoned torqued ignudi supported by forty frisky caryatids (in gray monochrome) all witnessing the Biblical drama, yet physically and psychologically set apart from the events around them and which they, along with trompe l’oeil columns and vaulting visually con(s)t(r)ain. This within a grand “painted architectural structure,” as Michelangelo, spoke of his ceiling.

In his depiction of the action round the Tree of Knowledge, M. veers precipitously off script. The Devil hands the fruit to a languid and recumbent Eve. Who does not bite and pass it on to her mate. Rather Adam leaps to his feet, and reaches toward an upper branch to grab a share for himself.

And then there is the matter of the Expulsion itself, wherein a wingless angel, somehow aloft, thrusts his sword into the fleeing Adam’s jugular, even as the First Man halfheartedly attempts to ward off the blow, and perhaps shield his gaze from the angel’s radiance. Here, Adam, and even moreso Eve, have been transformed from lushly-fleshed heroic pre-knowledge nudes into lumpy, malproportioned troll-like figures, now merely naked and unprettily so.

Their bodies placed entirely outside the four corners of the Garden quadrangle, the ignudi seem entirely unaffected by the scene, almost narcissistically so. Only one of them so much as glances at the drama of the Fall of Man.


Ekphrasis, mon amour


And what about those Sybils?


Hey hey Michel A.,

How many ignudi didja paint today?


Remind me again, exactly how does one distinguish between ornament and structure?