dinsdag, oktober 31, 2006

Herr Weber

woord van de dag:

It was this edulcorated transatlantic version that was re-imported into the fledgling Federal Republic as a ‘good’ German, tainted neither by Nazi collaboration nor Marxist sympathies.
from New Left Review Peter Thomas on Being Max Weber

Verb 1. edulcorate - make sweeter in taste
dulcify, dulcorate, sweeten
honey - sweeten with honey
saccharify, sugar - sweeten with sugar; "sugar your tea"
candy, sugarcoat, glaze - coat with something sweet, such as a hard sugar glaze
mull - heat with sugar and spices to make a hot drink; "mulled cider"
change taste - alter the flavor of


maandag, oktober 30, 2006

Drunkenness At Work

from a book I've been reading called Birmingham: The First Manufacturing Town In the World by Eric Hopkins, quoting Matthew Boulton, Brummy Big Wig in the 18th century:

"...our workmen in the plated way have very few of them been at work this week past having been drunkall thewhile, and it was not in our power to persuade them to set to work again while they had any money left, a vexatious circumstance we are frequently subjected to when we have the greatest need of their dilligence."

A week later, Boulton had to confess to a customer that he had been unable to fulfil orders
"owing to the insolence and drunkenness of our workmen".

Cheers to the working class of the 18th century who no doubt grew tired at times of exploitation, low wages and crap work environments.

*****The New Working Class*****

"The poor of today watch television for half the day. These days, television producers even refer to what they call "Underclass TV." The new proletariat eats a lot of fatty foods and he enjoys smoking and drinking -- a lot. About 8 percent of Germans consume 40 percent of all the alcohol sold in the country. While he may be a family man, his families are often broken. And on Election Day, he casts a protest vote for the extreme left or right wing party, sometimes switching quickly from one to the other.

But the main thing that sets the modern poor apart from the industrial age pauper is a sheer lack of interest in education. Today's proletariat has little education and no interest in obtaining more. Back in the early days of industrialization, the poor joined worker associations that often doubled as educational associations. The modern member of the underclass, by contrast, has completely shunned personal betterment."

from Der Spiegel: WHITE TRASH, FAST FOOD - How Globalization Is Creating a New European Underclass

zaterdag, oktober 28, 2006


I'm feline tonight.

My back is gonna arch,
I'm gonna be black
and crossing paths.

when I'm on the phone
with my two heterosexual parents
I will ask them
who will die first
you or me?

when a gang of kids
loitering at the corner
intimidate the auld fuck
dottering to conclusion
I will not interject social consciousness.

I will throw a bottle
in the other direction
and the noise from afar
will cause them to scatter.

I will be Hitler tonight.
Not to kill Jews
or to apologise
but to incite idiots
to shave their heads
and have orgasms
beating people to death
for not being them.

My eyes are going to open
because even in total darkness
I can't walk with my eyes closed.

I will be Jesus tonight
and feed people with
bread and wine and
they'll believe anything.

Tonight will be the night
anything will happen.
On the pavement,
my head will rest, split open
and all the little thoughts
I might have had
will go unspoken.

donderdag, oktober 26, 2006

Livre du Jour

Letter Written by R.D. Yelverton in Support of George Edalji

"I observe that in the cases of injuries since the conviction of Mr Edlaji, every injury is said by the Police to be accidental and attributable to barbed wire or some concealed danger. It is, I repeat, grossly unjust that evidence as above was not given the previous occasion, involving such grave consequences that a gentleman was sent to seven years penal servitude."

And the fictionalised version of the George Edalji case can be found via Arthur and George, written by Julian Barnes


Samurai Song

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.



America, 2004:

People with bachelor's degrees earned an average of $51,554 in 2004, while those with high school diplomas earned $28,645, according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures released on Thursday.

Those with postgraduate degrees fared best, earning on average $78,093, according to the census statistics.

The Price of Bread: Poverty, Purchasing Power, and The Victorian Laborer's Standard of Living

By 1865 the purchasing power of even a skilled town laborer working his trade had fallen to a level of less than twice that of the Speenhamland allowance, putting the great bulk of independent town laborers barely above subsistence. Booth estimated that around the turn of the century 31 percent of the population of London was living in poverty. This estimate was confirmed by the studies of Rowntree in the City of York, where he found the proportion of the inhabitants in poverty (that is, below subsistence) was 28 percent


An old man

At the back of the noisy café
bent over a table sits an old man;
a newspaper in front of him, without company.

And in the scorn of his miserable old age
he ponders how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, and the power of the word, and good looks.

He knows he has aged much; he feels it, he sees it.
And yet the time he was young seems
like yesterday. How short a time, how short a time.

And he ponders how Prudence deceived him;
and how he always trusted her -- what a folly! --
that liar who said: "Tomorrow. There is ample time."

He remembers the impulses he curbed; and how much
joy he sacrificed. Every lost chance
now mocks his senseless wisdom.

...But from so much thinking and remembering
the old man gets dizzy. And falls asleep
bent over the café table.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1897)


Het woord van der dag


In English Common Law the term ancient demesne, sometimes shortened to demesne, referred to those lands that were held by the crown at the time of the Domesday Book. The term demesne also referred to the demesne of the crown, or royal demesne, which consisted of those lands reserved for the crown at the time of the original distribution of landed property. The royal demesne could be increased, for example, as a result of forfeiture. Demesne lands were managed by stewards of the crown and were not given out in fief. During the reign of George III, Parliament appropriated the royal demesne, in exchange for a fixed annual sum, called the Civil List.

dinsdag, oktober 24, 2006

The Dying Words Of My Last Friend

Here it is, liberation!

He's got tubes coming out
of every orafice
and he can't talk
because he's too busy gasping.

And I think, here it is, death -
my chance to witness

And his soul doesn't come out.
He just lies there, dead.

Man, I beat his chest.
Where is that fucking soul?

I scream man where is that fucking soul
so fucking loud the nurses come in
and take hold of me
and caress my head
and I'm like man, why are you caressing me?
I'm not dead.

The windows are sealed.
His soul could not have escaped.

And I break away from the nurses
and beat his chest again
WHERE is your fucking soul?

Because I know this man was someone
not the man I sat with
in cafés drinking absinthe with,
nor cigarette after cigarette,
shared dying with.

And slowly I clock it.

No more conversations
about nothing, no more
drinking without purpose,
no more talking about women
and dying
no more no more
no fucking more.

And then I don't beat his chest
anymore asking for his soul,
I touch his dead skin, clammy.
And I'm sick because it's the skin
of a dead man.

What is this shit in front of me?
Where is my brother, where
is my friend?

I can't howl like a primative
because it was friend,
he was my friend
dead, he is my friend
he is dead
he was my friend
and his last words
were the last I will ever hear from him.

zaterdag, oktober 07, 2006

No Audience

Underneath it all, under the covers, under the cover of sky, under the influence, undercover, underman, under the sun.

It's a room full of people feeling nothing.

Veins, dried up like canyon roads in the hills, handicapped they cripple around in small circles circulating with very tight parametres sipping cocktails with parasols swaying words they never heard of.

A roomful of human errors. Flubbed fly balls, booted grounders in a society sandlot sinking. They profess no mistakes, admit no errors. These kids are flawless. Their eyes don't blink.

And when they all go home sleeping together, their post coital figures fade, sun light returns, no one can find their sunglasses and nobody can be cool.

I flip a coin.

Not randomly. I want this one to count.

I flip a coin and just as it's about to land in my palm someone laughs and pushes someone in front of them forward which happened to be my back and then I slipped, disc and all, the coin fell to the hardwood floor, bounced back up a time or two and then slept, heads up.

Everyone stopped moving, everyone stopped talking. You could hear the neighbour's tv. A dog was barking three blocks north.

I picked up the coin because the coin was worth something. A broken tooth, a jar of marmite, cross eyes, everyone wondering about this coin and the hand that collected it and the body connected to it that stood up, straightened out and made moves to leave.

Thank you, I said. I'll be doing this again tomorrow night.