Always and forever, Peter Schjeldahl

Schjeldahl on the Frick's (newly-cleaned) Rembrandt self-portrait:

"Bankrupt by the age of fifty-two, the artist casts himself as a sick and tired potentate of the studio, enthroned in an archaic golden-yellow jerkin and a floppy black hat. .... The artist doesn't doubt his powers. How could he? But, in disgrace, he seems to wonder what they're worth. He isn't much good to himself any longer. He's ours, if we want him -- in a fire sale of the soul."


The hive-mind is smoking

Norton Search suggests the following completions for "is o":

Is Obama the antichrist
Is oatmeal gluten-free
Is Obama a muslim
Is Obama a socialist
Is Obama the anti christ
Is Obama a mason
Is Obama a good president
Is olive oil good for you


Does no one care if the man is gluten-free?


Unattainable goals: short story writing and pie crusts

"The great Irish short story writer Frank O'Connor thought it a pure form, 'motivated by its own necessities rather than by our convenience'. I am not sure whether the novel is written for our convenience, but it is probably written for our satisfaction. That is what readers complain about with short stories, that they are not 'satisfying'. They are the cats of literary form; beautiful, but a little too self-contained for some readers' taste. Short stories are, however, satisfying to write, because they are such achieved things. They become themselves even as you write them: they end once they have attained their natural state."

(Anne Enright, The Guardian)


Quote of the Day

"In the 1970s he would weave his way down the front steps and out of the Museum at about the time that most of us were having our afternoon tea break. He had that rather delicate, cantilevered gait of the experienced toper. I could never work out the origin of his accent; it could have been Irish -- but then again it could have been Scottish. He had the deliverate delivery of the habitually sozzled, a series of short barks separated by significant pauses. When he spoke, his sentences always made rather ponderous sense. But in this condition he could perform the delicate slicing necessary to age whales."

Dry Storeroom No 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum (Richard Fortey)


Typo of the Day

Codnition: piscine telepathy.


Best-named fund-raiser



Quote of the Day

"I wonder, though, if there is a little saint you can apply to, if you’re a person with holes in them? I can hardly expect the Trinity to care about my perforations, and I see the value of intercession by some lesser breed. Sebastian, shot full of arrows? It seems like overkill. There is a term for what is happening to St Teresa in Bernini’s sculpture; it is ‘transverberation’. But she was pierced suddenly by the fiery lance of God’s love, whereas I was pierced by prearrangement, in a hospital just off the M25."

(Hilary Mantel, London Review of Books.)



A heart rolled in styptic
is no turkish delight -
clotted posey of staunched empire
not Ottoman rose attar


Quote of the Day

"Time, her father was saying, looking upwards and scratching his chin through his beard, time has tiny flaws in it, tiny slippages, that in the very beginning hindered the flow of formlessness and created form. In the same way, he said, that your nails catch on something made of silk, with little hooks you did not know were there until they snagged. 'Do you see?' he asked. Flaws in the matrix, temporal discrepancies. So at the start, when there was still nothing, the world was, you could say, hindered into existence."

(The Infinities, John Banville)(A loveable and thus, given the author's previous works, disturbing book)