Magic lantern, indeed

Shipped in from Cinémathèque Français in Paris, this machine offered a pre-film cinematic experience dating to the 17th century. A once-in-a-lifetime show for me. 

Leonard on Leonard

“I thought I was breaking down, but why was I breaking down? There was something I had to protect, some image of myself that I had to protect, and what was the image? A nice guy, a decent guy, a religious guy, a compassionate guy, a smart guy, a beautiful guy? Whatever the images of myself that I had to protect, to defend, they were making me unhappy, and the unhappier I got the more withdrawn I got.” (May 1988)

Econ 101

When you look at it this way, our national politics is a bit leftist, in that it moves ever more money to the left, eh?


“My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three.” —Nabokov

Bread and circus

With tonight, my sons have been to the symphony twice in their lives. This year, it was the symphony playing along with a rock band doing David Bowie’s hits. Last year, the same symphony played the soundtracks of Looney Tunes shown on a giant screen above them.

Each time, I could see the thought bubbles over the string section players’ heads: “I went to conservatory for this?” 

Amid the temples, statuary and other high art of imperial Rome, what was it the people compelled the emperors to give them? Ah, yes. Circus Maximus. Wine. The Colosseum. And the people were right. Tonight was fun.

Boys & toys

‪Interviewed a man tonight who’s played with toys all his life. Now close to retirement, he got his first Napoleonic miniatures when he was a boy. ‬

A perfectly Dismal day

February offered up a distressingly summer-like Sunday, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally check out a bug-free Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

It was both beautiful and forbidding, and part of the beauty was its refusal to yield any comfort to us. We were on its turf and happy to be just visitors with a car waiting nearby. For reasons I don’t bother to think about, I had T.S. Eliot’s famous “Wasteland” in mind, specifically the tarot section:

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Indeed, one must.