joys of the butaneous sort
People come up to me in the Dey House and say that they've seen the site and they are telling other people (like the undergrads they're teaching) to check it out. "Oh," I say, embarrassed, "um, thank you."
This is when Marlowe tells me to stop pretending to be embarrassed. "You're such a whore!" he says. "You're loving the attention! Look at you, you whore." Then we all go over to his place to smoke his hookah. Last night we were out of hookah charcoal and had to light it with these butane-soaked barbecue coals; it seemed a little dicey at the time but my motor functions are still intact today. Vu abstained until we made fun of him for fearing Big Bad Mr. Butane, then he caved.
An article on Steve Martin's downward spiral which I only half agree with. Yes, it's usually unfortunate when comedians make a go at the "serious artist" badge, but some of Martin's New Yorker bits were pretty funny. That one about the period shortage in Times Roman was hilarious. They're certainly better than the New Yorker pieces by Woody Allen, whom the article holds up as a foil to Martin. Those -- at least the ones I've read -- are really awful. They're like T.C. Boyle at his most unhinged, but written by an eleventh-grader with a vocab booster book full of long Latinate adverbs. Maybe if you live in New York you think five involuted pages about renovating an apartment is funny. I dunno.
A long footnote from this out of print annotated Rime of the Ancient Mariner I have, which I at least find hilarious:
Intended for Lyrical Ballads, though not included, was Wordsworth's narrative poem "Peter Bell," in which he sought to dramatize the same moral theme of Coleridge's ballad, but without resort to the supernatural. Parallels with The Ancient Mariner are so obvious, and the poetry so inept, that the poem is almost a parody. Peter Bell, a wanderer by land instead of sea, in an uncouth, immoral salesman of (Wedgewood?) pottery, blind to the beauty of yellow primroses and other aspects of nature:
Not for the moon cared he a tittle,
And for the stars he cared as little.
An act of cruelty to one of God's humble creatures, a donkey, plunges him into a sequence of terrifying events which lead finally to his remorse, repentance, and spiritual rebirth. There are numerous, deliberate attempts to introduce images from Coleridge's ballad: a man's corpse, a horned moon, moonlight, blood, the donkey's shining eye, a grotesque grin, auroral lights, an apparition, those three mystic numbers (3, 7, and 9), the great harlot of Babylon, an empty bucket, an underground explosion, and many others.
Here's the inept poem itself.