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, March 31, 2013

Opening of Nerval's "Pandora" (from Goethe's "Faust")

From Nerval's translation of Faust:

Two souls, alas, dwell within my breast, each wishing to be free from the other. The one, pining for love, grasps at the world with its bodily organs. A supernatural motion sweeps the other upward, far from the gloom below, towards the lofty realms of our ancestors. 


Stock-im-Eisen by Alexander Gorlin
Stock-im-Eisen, a photo by Alexander Gorlin on Flickr.

Stock im Eisen

According to a footnote in Nerval's "Pandora," the Stock im Eisen "was the trunk of a tree reputed to be part of the forest that originally stood on the site of Vienna."


The Stock im Eisen (German: staff in iron) is the midsection of a tree-trunk from the Middle Ages, a so-called nail-tree (Nagelbaum), into which hundreds of nails have been pounded for good luck over centuries. It is located in Vienna, Austria, in Stock-im-Eisen-Platz, now part of Stephansplatz, at the corner of the Graben and Kärntner Straße and is now behind glass on a corner of the Palais Equitable.


The trunk section is 2.19 m (7 feet 2 inches) tall and is held in place by five iron bands; the iron bears the date 1575[1] and the initials HB, presumably for Hans Buettinger, the house owner who had the iron replaced. The tree was a forked spruce which started to grow around 1400 and was felled in approximately 1440,[2] as was revealed by examination in 1975.[3] There was regrowth in the middle of the trunk after blows from an axe. The first nails were inserted while the tree was still alive (thus before 1440).[2] The first written mention of it dates to 1533;[2][4] in 1548 it was already located on the wall of a house in what became Stock-im-Eisen-Platz.

The Palais Equitable, which was built on the site in 1891, incorporates the Stock im Eisen in a niche. It stands on a base made of Czech hornblende granite. Wrought iron vines were added, and the building has Zum Stock-im-Eisen (At the Stock im Eisen) carved above the door and a bronze sculpture group of locksmith apprentices and the tree trunk, by Rudolf Weyr, in the tympanum.[5] In addition there are a pair of representations of the legend by the same artist on the doors.

[ From Wikipedia:]

Yggdrasil II, or the Urban Tree That Aspires to Being a Forest



In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil (pron.: /ˈɪɡdrəsɪl/; from Old Norse Yggdrasill, pronounced [ˈyɡːˌdrasilː]) is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist.

Yggdrasil is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that is central and considered very holy. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily to assemble at their things. The branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mímisbrunnr. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór.

Conflicting scholarly theories have been proposed about the etymology of the name Yggdrasill, the possibility that the tree is of another species than ash, the relation to tree lore and to Eurasian shamanic lore, the possible relation to the trees Mímameiðr and Læraðr, Hoddmímis holt, the sacred tree at Uppsala, and the fate of Yggdrasil during the events of Ragnarok.

[From Wikipedia:]

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

"The Turin Horse" by Bela Tarr

Béla Tarr at RIFF 2011

Béla Tarr at RIFF 2011 by Pu the Owl
Béla Tarr at RIFF 2011, a photo by Pu the Owl on Flickr.

O Cavalo de Turim (2011)

O Cavalo de Turim (2011) by Chico Fireman
O Cavalo de Turim (2011), a photo by Chico Fireman on Flickr.
Apparently a still from the film: The Turin Horse.

"The Turin Horse" by Bela Tarr

Also, following the Nietzsche/Turin thought, wandered into this. Didn't know the director or the film till now. Would love to see it. We'll see.


The Turin Horse (Hungarian: A torinói ló) is a 2011 Hungarian drama film directed by Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, starring János Derzsi, Erika Bók and Mihály Kormos.[1] It was co-written by Tarr and his frequent collaborator László Krasznahorkai. It recalls the whipping of a horse in the Italian city Turin which is rumoured to have caused the mental breakdown of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The film is in black-and-white, shot in only 30 long takes by Tarr's regular cameraman Fred Kelemen,[2] and depicts the repetitive daily lives of the horse and its owner.

The film was an international co-production led by the Hungarian company T. T. Filmműhely. Tarr has said that he intends it to be his last film. After having been postponed several times, it premiered in 2011 at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, where it received the Jury Grand Prix. The Hungarian release was postponed after the director had criticised the country's government in an interview.


In Turin on 3rd January, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the doorway of number six, Via Carlo Alberto. Not far from him, the driver of a hansom cab is having trouble with a stubborn horse. Despite all his urging, the horse refuses to move, whereupon the driver loses his patience and takes his whip to it. Nietzsche comes up to the throng and puts an end to the brutal scene, throwing his arms around the horse’s neck, sobbing. His landlord takes him home, he lies motionless and silent for two days on a divan until he mutters the obligatory last words, and lives for another ten years, silent and demented, cared for by his mother and sisters. We do not know what happened to the horse.”

These are Béla Tarr’s introductory words at the beginning of his film, which picks up the narrative immediately after these events, and is a meticulous description of the life of the driver of the hansom cab, his daughter and the horse.[3]

[From Wikipedia:]

Nietzsche, Paul Rée, & Lou Salomé

The Shroud of Turin took me to Torino (we only passed by on our way to Switzerland), then to Nietzsche in Torino, and finally I ended up here with this relatively famous picture (Lou Salome would eventually accompany Rilke to Russia, if I remember correctly).

The Shroud of Turin

OK, it might be "that old" (so they're saying now), and it's supposedly making a "special showing" for Easter, but did Jesus really look like "that"?

Anyway, "science" is toying with the shroud again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From Nerval's "Diorama"

     The only criticism one might level at Monsieur Bouton is that he has made his human figures too large, especially in the final tableau. Man amounts to so little on earth that it is impossible to paint a horizon of any expanse whatsoever without having to turn him into a microscopic entity. 'How fortunate you are to be a poet,' said the painter David to Baour-Lormian one day. 'If you want to depict a love scene in the Alps, you come up with twenty pages of lovers, twenty pages of mountains and the whole thing fits together quite nicely. If I, by contrast, want to do a painting on the same theme, either my lovers will be enormous and my Alps minuscule, or my Alps will be gigantic and my lovers no taller than this' -- and he pointed to his little finger.

Gothic Chapel

Gothic Chapel by Maulleigh
Gothic Chapel, a photo by Maulleigh on Flickr.
Charles-Marie Bouton (Oil on canvas)

Charles Marie Bouton (1781 - 1853)

Charles Marie Bouton, born 16 May 1781 in Paris where he died on 28 June 1853, is a French painter.

He was a student of Jacques Louis David, Jean-Victor Bertin and the first French panorama painter Pierre Prévost. He concentrated mostly on the perspective and the art of distributing light and was thus led to the invention of the Diorama, which he shares the honor with Jacques Daguerre.
As a painter, he has reproduced happily Souterrains de Saint-Denis, la cathédrale de Chartres, and an interior view of the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.

Daguerre's Diorama

IMG_0297 by Duck Arrow Types
IMG_0297, a photo by Duck Arrow Types on Flickr.

Vue d'Optique of Daguerre's Diorama in Paris - c. 1820

The Diorama

The inventor and proprietor of the Diorama was Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), formerly a decorator, manufacturer of mirrors, painter of Panoramas, and masterly designer and painter of theatrical stage illusions. Daguerre would later co-invent the daguerreotype, the first widely used method of photography.

Daguerre opened a second Diorama in Regent's Park in London in 1823, a year after the debut of his Paris original. The building which exhibited the diorama, was designed by Augustus Charles Pugin, father of the notable English architect and designer Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. The show was a popular sensation, and spawned immediate imitations. British artists like Clarkson Stanfield and David Roberts produced ever-more elaborate dioramas through the 1830s; sound effects and even living performers were added. Some "typical diorama effects included moonlit nights, winter snow turning into a summer meadow, rainbows after a storm, illuminated fountains," waterfalls, thunder and lightning, and ringing bells.[3] A diorama painted by Daguerre is currently housed in the church of the French town Bry-sur-Marne, where he lived and died.

[From Wikipedia:]

R.I.P., L.

Couldn't have asked for a better friend. What killed her? Dunno. Something she ate -- or something she ate?

Volleyball (and Volleyballs) from the Huntington Pier

Sugar Shack (have to stop eating out) and then a stroll on the pier.


Locally World Famous: Chuck's

I had the Weasel and then walked it off along the bikepath.

Point Dume (Spring 2013)

Skipped some of the usual sights (see earlier posts from Dec/Jan). Missed the dolphin in the curl of a wave.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Jean Jacques Rousseau's Tomb

I think he would've preferred staying in Ermenonville. Oh, well.

Tombeau de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, île des peupliers - Ermenonville (60)

Rousseau's tomb in Ermenonville. The town and the philosopher are mentioned quite often in Nerval. The park was at some point named after Rousseau. His ashes were eventually transferred to the Pantheon in Paris.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rats with Wings

The bar is next to the coffee shop. In the morning (I'm doing coffee) you're always stepping over or around colorful upchucks. This morning a hungry pigeon mistook upchuck for porridge (perhaps synonyms in pigeon-speak).


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jellies in the Colorado Lagoon

Of course, I'm still waiting for the sea slugs to return. Never got a photo of them.


Hawthorn blossom

Hawthorn blossom by Rhian vK
Hawthorn blossom, a photo by Rhian vK on Flickr.
The Proustian variety.


I shall not find a painting more beautiful because the artist has painted a hawthorn in the foreground, though I know of nothing more beautiful than the hawthorn, for I wish to remain sincere and because I know that the beauty of a painting does not depend on the things represented in it. I shall not collect images of hawthorn. I do not venerate hawthorn, I go to see and smell it.

   [Marcel Proust - preface (1910) to The Bible of Amiens by John Ruskin, translated by Proust (1904)]

Raphiolepis indica (Indian Hawthorn)

Ours are in bloom: spring has sprung.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

World Poetry Day is Tomorrow

Didn't know till now. Seems it should be every day.

How should we celebrate?


World Poetry Day is on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to "give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements".

It was generally celebrated in October, sometimes on the 5th, but in the latter part of the 20th Century the world community celebrated it on 15 October, the birthday of Virgil, the Roman epic poet and poet latter under Augustus. The tradition to keep an October date for national or international poetry day celebrations still holds in many countries.[1] It is the first Thursday in October in the UK.[2] Alternatively, a different October or even November date is celebrated.

[From Wikipedia:]

Nerval's "Angelique"

The preceding doppelganger lit was ok (I remembered them once I got in), but his Angelique is the first piece I've really "come back to" (and it's a real hoot besides).

A taste:

     From the age of thirteen onwards, Angelique de Longueval, whose temperament was at once dreamy and despondent, claimed -- in her own words -- that she had no interest in fine jewellery or beautiful carpets or elegant clothing and thought only of death to cure her spirits.  A gentleman in the service of her father fell in love with her. He could not take his eyes off her, he attended to her slightest need, and even though Angelique had not the faintest idea what Love might be, she was pleasantly surprised to find herself the object of such assiduous attention.
     When this gentleman finally declared his love to her, his words so impressed themselves on her memory that six years later, after having gone through the trials and tribulations of another love and having suffered misfortunes of every sort, she could still remember this first letter and recite it to herself word by word.

Only Slightly Nostalgic (The Belmont Pier)

Moved back from the beach a bit about 10 years ago. I stop by the pier now and then (mostly for Vons or Chronic Taco), but I haven't walked out onto it in some time.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Samuel Beckett on Ireland

Came across this snippet in Googling "Samuel Beckett" and "Ireland" (or some such combo). It's from a letter Beckett wrote to a Mr. Naumann (German) and Beckett's letters were published by Cambridge University Press (alas, I do not own them yet). The footnote (included here) suggests that Beckett's "magic fountain" is an allusion to a play by W.B. Yeats.

And the footnote:

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain by caipirinha
Trevi Fountain, a photo by caipirinha on Flickr.
I'm lazy today so I won't look for my own shots. This one is pretty good IMHO.

Not the Trevi but These Did in a Pinch

Didn't see a sunset because of the marine layer. Walked around Fashion Island a little (waiting for our girls who were seeing The Oz). Coffeed at a French bakery and then Starbucks. Sat outside under heatlamps at the Whole Foods. The fountains (after dark) were a nice touch.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

From Yeats' "The Stolen Child"

Used to have this refrain on a calendar (or something else I picked up in Ireland). Probably never read the poem in its entirety, but I can always remember (half-remember) this:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. 


Shamrock by Robert Hough
Shamrock, a photo by Robert Hough on Flickr.
I knew a Shamrock once.

Dublin - St Patrick's Cathedral Jonathon Swift Dedication Wall Plaque

Thought so.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Was certainly here. Can almost see a plaque commemorating Swift in the entry.

St. Patricks Chapel, Heysham. 2012

Stone Carved Graves, St Patrick's Chapel, Heysham, Lancashire, UK

99% certain we stopped at St. Patrick's Chapel and saw these graves. We were on our way back from Scotland and the Lake District and on our way to Hollyhead to catch the ferry. I remember the graves hewn from stone, the connection to St. Patty, and the name: Heysham. Don't know if I have any photos of my own to bolster memory.