One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Reading: Victor Pelevin's "Omon Ra"

Victor Olegovich Pelevin (Russian: Ви́ктор Оле́гович Пеле́вин; IPA: [ˈvʲiktər ɐˈlʲɛɡəvʲɪtɕ pʲɪˈlʲevʲɪn], born 22 November 1962) is a Russian fiction writer, the author of novels "Omon Ra", "Chapayev and Void" and "Generation P". He is a laureate of multiple literary awards including the Russian Little Booker Prize (1993) and the Russian National Bestseller (2004). His books are multi-layered postmodernist texts fusing elements of pop culture and esoteric philosophies while carrying conventions of the science fiction genre. Some critics relate his prose to the New Sincerity literary movement.

[From Wikipedia:]

Morning in Seal Beach [9/18/16]




Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Natal Plum -- Yum Yum Num Num

On a tip from a knowing man with a broom in his hand (he took the first bite and lived), I tasted a new fruit I've been staring at for years (the starry white blossoms are very fragrant, but I didn't know the fruit was edible).


Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum), is a shrub native to South Africa, where it is commonly called the Large Num-Num. In Zulu, as well as in the Bantu tribes of Uganda, it is called Amathungulu or umThungulu oBomvu. In Afrikaans the fruit is called Noem-Noem.

C. macrocarpa deals well with salt-laden winds, making it a good choice for coastal areas. It is commonly found in the coastal bush of the Eastern Cape and Natal.[1] It produces shiny, deep green leaves and snowy white flowers whose perfumed scent intensifies at night. Like other Carissa species, C. macrocarpa is a spiny, evergreen shrub containing latex. They bloom for months at a time. The ornamental plump, round, crimson fruit appears in summer and fall (autumn) at the same time as the blooms. In moderate, coastal areas the fruits appear through the year. The fruit can be eaten out of hand or made into pies, jams, jellies, and sauces.[1] Some claim that other than the fruit, the plant is poisonous.[2] However this claim is a myth, possibly based on similarities to other plants with milky sap.[3] The California Poison Control System rates the plant as mildly toxic.[4] It appears in the South African National tree list as number 640.3.

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known fruit has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

[From Wikipedia:]

Sasha Sokolov's "A School for Fools"

Kind of like what Kundera said re Musil's opus: no matter where you land you'll find something exceptional. Here's pretty much where I ended this morning.


Yes, dreams Mikheev, the wind will put all this orchard and samovar life upside down and will stomp the dust at least for a while. The retiree suddenly recalls something he read sometime and somewhere: A breeze fashions fast silver keels out of dust. Precisely, from dust, Mikheev analyzes, and precisely keels, that is boat keels, that is boats with keels, and not the flat-bottom boats, may they sink to the bottom! If only the wind came soon! A gale in the vale, but a breeze in the trees -- again Mikheev quotes in his mind, while the path turns to the right and goes slightly up the hill. Now, as far as to the little bridge across the ravine (where the burdocks are plentiful and where, most likely, snakes live), one can leave the pedals alone and let one's legs rest: let them hang calmly, swinging on both sides of the frame and not touching the pedals, and let the machine roll by itself -- towards the wind. Sender of the Wind? -- you think about Mikheev. You don't see him anymore; as it is occasionally said, he vanished beyond the bend -- melted in the dacha July haze. Completely covered with the floating seeds of dandelions, risking at each meter of the bicycle ride losing summer postcards written as a result of nothing else to do, he and his elderly venous hands now speed towards his dreams. He is full of concerns and worries; he's been an outsider in the dacha world and he does not like it. Poor Mikheev, you think, soon, soon your pains will go away and you'll become a metallic headwind, a mountain dandelion, a ball belonging to a six-year-old girl, a pedal of a cruiser bicycle, compulsory military service, the aluminum of airports and the ash of forest fires; you'll become smoke, the smoke of the rhythmical food and textile factories, the speaking of viaducts, the seashore pebble, the light of day, and the pods of thorny acacias. Or -- you'll become a road, a part of the road, a roadside bush; you'll become a shadow on the winter road, you'll become a bamboo shoot, you'll be eternal. Lucky Mikheev. Medvedev?

Blue Pony & Fountain