June 16th, 2004

a compendium of LOTR pastiches with divers learned additions:

the ring being Brand
-new;and you

know consequently a
little big i was
careful of it and(having

thoroughly shined the elvish
script checked my pocket felt of
its chain made sure it was around my neck O.

K.)i went right to it jammed-it-on my finger straight …

from III C 2, Whether Balrogs have Wings:

I assert that Balrogs do not have wings. For, it is a natural impulse to act to preserve one’s life, and in doing so, to make full use of one’s capabilities. If the Balrog did have wings, it would not allow itself to fall to its death in the mines of Moria, but save itself by the use of its wings. …

Reply to Objection ii. Dragons and Balrogs are alike in that they are both servants of evil and of flame, but they differ in their accidental traits. Because two things are alike in one way, it is not proper to argue that they are alike in other ways.

“If one finds a ring in a dark cave, or an enchanted blade in a grave-barrow, these he is allowed to keep.”

If one finds a ring in a dark cave — what is the reason for this? Thus said R. Yitzchak: It is because the owner of the ring would have been checking it at all times, and thus, he would have noticed when he lost it, and surely he would have said, “woe is me, for I have lost my preciousss,” and as R. Zvid said in the name of Rabha, if one says, “woe it me, for I have lost my preciousss,” he does not expect to recover it.

And of which rings are we talking? Rabha bar R. Chana says, “even the nine”. Ullah says, “even the seven.” Reish Lakish says, “even the three.” R. Nachman says in the name of Shmuel, “This is only true of the One Ring, and that only because the One Ring is never truly lost by chance.”

June 16th, 2004

NEASDEN CONTROL CENTRE has updated their site with more juicy goodness. The Shop is still closed, and navigation & layout is cleaner than ever. Please note that in this case, that is not a compliment but a complaint. Since their first web iteration (well, the first one I saw, two years ago), their site has gotten more and more straight-forward. And has contained less. :::sigh:::

June 16th, 2004

Google's Bloomsday logo

June 16th, 2004

New York Times: Bloomsday, 1904

Sixteenth today it is,” thinks Leopold Bloom, and the 16th it was, in June 1904. James Joyce, age 22, would walk out that very night in Dublin with Nora Barnacle, whom he later wedded. “Ulysses” is set on that day ? Bloomsday, as it has come to be called ? in honor of Joyce’s meeting Miss Barnacle. Many Joyceans have made of Bloomsday a literary Mardi Gras, an odyssey through Dublin using the points of Joyce’s compass, a day to celebrate Irishness and the peculiar verbal fecundity of that nation. In a novel full of celebrated talkers, it is Bloom, Jew and Irishman, who hovers, voice and thought, over the proceedings. As one barroom patron in the novel says, show Bloom a straw on the floor and “he’d talk about it for an hour so he would and talk steady.”

All these years later, one somehow thinks of “Ulysses” as being of that day, June 16, 1904, though it was published in February 1922. It is still as defiant a comedy as ever, as fictional as a gazetteer, willing to make a hash of the genres its author inherited. Now and then, a critic feels the need to tilt against “Ulysses,” to complain of a byzantine difficulty in certain passages, to lament Joyce’s leaps of logic and illogic, his utter sacrifice of plot. But by destroying plot ? reducing it to a kind of geography ? Joyce succeeds in reinventing time. Bloomsday is the most capacious day in literature. Only the hours of Lear’s suffering last longer, and there time passes in a stage direction. Language has almost never had a surer substance ? a stronger temporal beat ? than Joyce gives it in the thoughts of Leopold Bloom and his wife, Molly, along with Stephen Dedalus and Dublin’s assembled hordes.

“Ulysses” has come to stand as the apogee of “elitist” literature, a novel that carries a kind of foreboding in its very title, the prospect of a hard road ahead. But there is really no less elitist novel in the English language. Its stuff is the common life of man, woman and child. You take what you can, loping over the smooth spots and pulling up short when you need to. Dedalus may indulge in Latinate fancy, and Joyce may revel in literary mimicry. But the real sound of this novel is the sound of the street a century ago: the noise of centuries of streets echoing over the stones.

Each of the last three years I have organized a 24-hour marathon reading of Ulysses; this year, I am taking a break.

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