Friday, June 11, 2010

Beware the Ides of Bloomsday

Which I think is also Bloomsday Eve. Wait, no, all-knowing Wikipedia tells me that in June, the ides are the thirteenth, so the ides are the antepenultimate day before language nerds commemorate Lil' Leo's famous stroll. I'll be back soon enough with an 800-word review of a book from which people crank off theses by the bale--no doubt it'll be great--it just ain't going to happen by the sixteenth. Even the gigantic turd of a post that I've been simmering in the meantime--the one that sometimes keeps me from repairing to these damn idées fixes--doesn't look like it'll be cooked through by that time.

Oh well. Back soon.


Schmutzie said...

You know, I was going to do a Ulysses review myself, but since you're going to do it, I'll hold off for now.

Keifus said...

Yeah, I was going to go ahead and delete this little drunken (and disturbingly scatological) excursion, but since you commented...

switters said...

What in the heck is wrong with all those irish? A Prayer For The Dying, Miller's Crossing, Gangs Of New York, Patriot Games, Braveheart (Stephen and "his island"), My Left Foot, Caligula, In The Name Of The Father, that Lucky Charms dude and soap you have to use a knife to cut in the shower, River Dance, The Dead...

They can't all be stereotypes, can they?

I don't think I'm smart enough to understand James Joyce. Ever. And I'd just as soon stay out of his personal affairs and sexual proclivities.

But there is a connection, you know.

"Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air...

"Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours.
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines.
No one is there."

Keifus said...

Send 'em in. Ain't we all.

I always figured those things are the stuff of Irish-American stereotypes rather than anything really Irish, although it doesn't describe my relatives very well so far as I know (except maybe the Red Sox fandom). Speculation and all, but I imagine that it's basically a sweetening of all of the negative epithets that were floating around in the mid-nineteenth century during their big immigration wave. See also, Italian-Americans.

Also, I'll have you know that Irish Spring is now packaged in bottles, which are full of very small country lasses. I don't know how they get 'em in there, but they seem surprisingly happy, considering where they're going.

I think Ulysses anyway is more difficult to break into than enjoy, but more on that sort of thing when I get around to it.

Cindy said...

Well, I'll be somewhere around Gold Beach, Oregon on Bloomsday so we're going to pretend we're on Sandymount Strand and that's about it...

I'm looking forward to your review ... the bale-full of others are not all they're cracked up to be.


Oh, and I love Irish Spring. They totally had me when they cut into the bar so you could see that it was REAL! All the way through. Yeah!

Keifus said...

I'm going to start the morning with a leisurely visit to the outhouse, and over the course of the day I'll try to look up someone's skirt. (Okay, my wife's, and I'll ask nicely first. I'll also avoid funerals, brothels and maternity wards. I'm not talking about getting religion here.)

Don't you remember the hollow soap bar scams in the 1980s? It's why Lifebuoy floated...and went out of business.

switters said...

No, I think you're thinking of Icehouse, "The beer that floats!", aren't you?

I think I've started Ulysses about 43 times in my life, and I've never gotten further than page 97. Same with Catch 22. I'm just not that bright. So I'll be looking forward to your post as well.

P.S. I tried the pump water in the tank trick, and it didn't work. But it had been working until Jess used it. But for whatever reason he put the water in the bowl. So I think he broke it to pay me back for his tractor. I pray it's not the septic, because there's another 6500 smackers down the drain, so to speak.

Keifus said...

Cantcha see I'm trying to manage expectations here? I'm on about p. 400, and it's nice as each section eventually smooths out as I get the feeling of the voice, right until he goes and fucks up the rhythm yet again in the next chapter. So it's taking me a while. Actually, some of my thoughts on U. and C22 are similar, so maybe there's something. I connected more easily with the latter, though. It's possible that I have a small bitter streak.

Cheap possible solutions are replacement toilet guts, or maybe a plunger. No one wants to know where the drain goes, much less pay to find out. Good luck.

I've learned on various occasions (wow, tubing would be fun to do again--note to self: must find friends) that canned beers are neutrally buoyant. Probably the little bit of headspace makes up for the density of the can. You might be thinking of Keystone, "bottled [awful] beer taste in a can" which, in those days when I was a connoisseur of both floating and cheap brews, had the advantage over Busch or Milwaukee's Beast in that someone actually bothered to advertise it.

Cindy said...

Switters - I think one has to read Ulysses aloud to get past page 97. It works with someone or alone.

Beer (or bourbon) helps.

I think Moon Pie would enjoy listening to you read aloud in the evenings.

twif said...

i've never attempted ulysses, actually.

as for irish stereotypes, well, my experience is such:

any that follow baseball do tend towards sox fandom (which is good). in dingle, there is a sign that says "next parish, boston". in bars, most were actually drinking cider. also (and tragically), bud has infiltrated the nation. irish brewpubs rail against the big boys, just as american ones do. the people we met were uniformly and genuinely extraordinarily kind. the major failing of the irish, as a people, is the near universal inability of them to make even a half-way decent cup of coffee.

Isonomist said...

swit: you pour a bucket of water in the bowl so it triggers the flush. You're just bypassing the tank, causing the same valve to open by the weight of the same amount of water. Not to say your bro didn't break your head though.

Keif: I wanted to go to the Bloomsday thing today, but i'm stuck at work. Grr.

Keifus said...

On Irish literary heritage and baseball, of course we can't forget about James Joyce's post-novel career. An umpire, now famous for the wrong reasons. Talk about your ineluctable modality of the visible!

The coffee thing would be hard to get used to, though.

Nice detecting, Iso. Swit, hand your brother the plunger, he's clearly the culprit.

switters said...

Ah. Of course. I assume that the water is going somewhere, it doesn't seemed to be clogged. I pray it's not a septic thing. I'm hoping it's a simple toilet fix.

(Geez, swit, could you maybe at least try to keep your comments relevant to the post, you threadjacking retard.)

Al is currently the caretaker. He says it's great "me time". But the plumbers start on the pipes next week. When they first turned the well pump on, there was good pressure, but multiple leaks in the nearly 100 year old pipes. They're gonna put in something that's allegedly frozen-break free. But again, I'm just happy with a source outside and a toilet that flushes at this point.

Keifus said...

If it's not clogged, then it looks no worse than the plumbing, dude.

There's a part of me that is interested in those archaic plumbing and electrical fixtures. There's a certain sense of history and danger, like you're the Indiana Jones of home improvement or something. Of course paying for it and living there takes away some of the magic.

switters said...

Dag nabbit, Keifus, quit being so "glass half full"!

Anyways, speaking of books, I'm rereading Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow. But here's the thing I'll bet you'll really appreciate: I'm loathe to read it fast because I don't want to finish it because I don't want to leave Port William and I don't want them to leave me. I'm finding whole new meanings in this second read that weren't meaningful to me yet. Poignant, profound meanings.

Oh well, I'll have to finish it again eventually because it's hard to put down. Al's got my copy of Hannah Coulter, but I fear a reread of that epic might surely do me in (or spur me on to my density -- too close to call).

Keifus said...

That's me, the tireless optimist.

I haven't read Wendell Berry yet, despite your occasional suggestion (unless I'm remembering something else of course), seems a lot of sentimentality for me to handle.

When I was a lot younger, I'd move on from a story i enjoyed as if I was letting go of an old friend (and funnily, I made some very unworthy friends back in the day). I'd put it down only reluctantly, and then not read anything else until a proper time had passed. I think I know what you mean about savoring something like that. (I eventually got by the habit by not reading anything else related, but you know, it's all good.)