Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Be a Perfect Gentleman

A book of unspeakable hilarity, all of it unintentional.

My favorite passages so far:

"There are those, no doubt, who will say that they have something better
to do than waste their time wondering why they like to stay in bed,
which they don't."

And for extra double-entendre hilarity:

"Carlyle defined the feeling when he said, 'To sit still and be pumped into is never an exhilarating process.' But pumping is different. How often have I myself, my adieus seemingly done, my hat in my hand and my feet on the threshold, taken a fresh grip, hat or no hat, on the pump-handle, and set good-natured, Christian folk distressedly wondering if I would never stop! And how often have I afterward recalled something strained and morbidly intent in their expressions, a glassiness of the staring eye and a starchiness in the smiling lip, that has made me suffer under my bed-cover and swear that next time I would depart like a sky-rocket!"

He is, of course, referring to conversation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Axis Moonday

Can you spot the axis mundi in this picture?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Castles in the Sky: Tiny State's Tiny Tower

Here's a cute and tiny little axis mundi on a forested cliff overlooking San Marino, the smallest of the European states by population. San Marino has the oldest constitution in the world still in effect--it dates from 1600. America's is the second oldest.

There is a surreal, sublime effect of seeing the world from so far above--from a single manmade tower on a high mountainside, with no other human landmarks near it, except far, far below. The tower itself is hardly even part of our world. And it can see into the world beyond, miles and miles, almost surely into ancient Italia, by which San Marino is entirely surrounded.

It is also worth mentioning that this tower is built on the summit of Mount Titano, the highest point in San Marino, and that the entirety of San Marino is built on Titano and its nearest neighbors. The entire state is built on mountains--far above the mundane concerns of the world below.