5th january 2005

light houses


Paul sends the above image (among others); it's the mosque and minaret at Turfan on the Chinese silk road, built in the 1770s. It's this kind of thing I was thinking of when I posted this photograph.
I remember reading somewhere (was it in Robert Byron's Road to Oxiana? Byron was a great buff of Asian architecture) that the simplest, purest minarets were built by the Mongols who having invaded Persia settled there. The same ones I think who defeated the Assassins at Alamut and thereabouts.

| comment

7th january 2005

Life as an affair of charm: a bento box moblog.

Last night I made a sort of bento box on a plate for dinner, with tiny slices of roast red pork on rice, slivered green beans garnished with carrot, quartered boiled eggs with chili and lime sauce poured over. It was called Full Moon Over The Village Garden, I think.

| comment

8th january 2005



I took the creature I had design'd to delineate, and put it into a drop of very well rectified spirit of Wine, this I found would presently dispatch, as it were, the Animal, and being taken out of it, and lay'd on a paper, the spirit of Wine would immediately fly away, and leave the Animal dry, in its natural posture, or at least in a constitution that it might easily with a pin be plac'd, in what posture you desired to draw it, and the limbs would so remain without either moving or shriveling.
And thus I dealt with this Ant, which I have here delineated, which was one of many of a very large kind, that inhabited under the Roots of a Tree, from whence they would sally out in great parties, and make most grievous havock of the Flowers and Fruits in the ambient Garden, and return back again very expertly, by the same wayes and paths they went.

- Robert Hooke, Micrographia

| comment

9th january 2005

Gentlemen who purchased Mr Hooke's Micrographia also bought Gargantua and Pantagruel by M. Rabelais

. . . to the Hall, and there agreed with Mrs Martin, and to her lodgings which she has now taken to lie in, in Bow Streete, pitiful poor things, yet she thinks them pretty, and so they are for her condition I believe good enough. Here I did ce que je voudrais avec her most freely, and it having cost 2s. in wine and cake upon her, I away sick of her impudence, and by coach to my Lord Brunker's, by appointment, in the Piazza, in Covent-Guarding; where I occasioned much mirth with a ballet I brought with me, made from the seamen at sea to their ladies in town; saying Sir W. Pen, Sir G. Ascue, and Sir J. Lawson made them. Here a most noble French dinner and banquet, the best I have seen this many a day and good discourse. Thence to my bookseller's and at his binder's saw Hooke's book of the Microscope, which is so pretty that I presently bespoke it, and away home to the office, where we met to do something.

- Pepys, Diary January 1665

| comment

14th january 2005

the remembering: high the memory

So the Huygens probe is just about hitting the top of Titan's atmosphere, and we're all wondering what kind of pictures will come out of the soup. Over at NASA, they're quite expansive:

. . . deep, rolling tangerine oceans breaking on shoals and sandbars of ice, with wind-driven waves rising tens of metres in the low gravity . . .

Always unreported is the bit where the guy stared off across the room and mumbled, Yeah, that would be like, far out . . .

| comment

18th january 2005


Hearing about the BBC and Woodland Trust's Springwatch project reminded me that on Sunday (16th January) I clocked the first bumblebee of the year, groggy and creaking on a kerbside, obviously regretting its early emergence. Having made so many rotten life decisions myself, I could only sympathise.


dumbledore, dumble-dore
[f. dumble- + dor n.: see also drumble-dore.]

A humble-bee or bumble-bee; also dial. a cockchafer.

| comment

24th january 2005


Jacque Harper, woodcut

Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? Or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
Shall the companions make a banquet of him? Shall they part him among the merchants?
Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? Or his head with fish spears?
Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.

- Book of Job, Chapter 41

| comment

26th january 2005

if you open your mouth, you are wrong

Good to see that Gary Snyder has a new book of poems out, Danger on Peaks, where he writes about the post 9-11 world. This fragment on the Bamiyan Buddhas:

not even
under mortar fire
do they flinch;
the Buddhas of Bamiyan
Take refuge in the dust.

reminded me a little of Kipling's Song of the Galley Slaves:

we shall run out of the port-holes as the water runs along the oar-blade, and though you tell the others to row after us you will never catch us till you catch the oar-thresh and tie up the winds in the belly of the sail

and I see that the destruction of the Buddhas by the Taliban is almost a joke made by a zen master: the Buddhas are still there, of course. Although they were never there at all.

| comment