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Saturday, November 02, 2002



There are never any suicides in the quarter among people one knows
No successful suicides.
A Chinese boy kills himself and is dead.
(they continue to place his mail in the letter rack at the Dome)
A Norwegian boy kills himself and is dead.
(no one knows where the other Norwegian boy has gone)
They find a model dead
(le trouble for the concierge)
and stomach pumps rescue the people one knows.
Every afternoon the people one knows can be found at the café.

Ernest Hemingway- Paris 1922.



In the rain in the rain in the rain in the rain in Spain.
Does it rain in Spain?
Oh yes my dear on the contrary and there are no bull fights.
The dancers dance in long white pants
It isn't right to yence your aunts
Come Uncle, let's go home.
Home is where the heart is, home is where the fart is.
Come let us fart in the home.
There is no art in a fart.
Still a fart may not be artless.
Let us fart an artless fart in the home.
Bill says democracy must go.
Go democracy.

Bill's father would never knowingly sit down at table with a Democrat.
Now Bill says democracy must go.
Go on democracy.
Democracy is the shit.
Relativity is the shit.

Dictators are the shit.
Menken is the shit.
Waldo Frank is the shit.
The Broom is the shit.
Dada is the shit.
Dempsey is the shit.
This is not a complete list.
They say Ezra is the shit.
But Ezra is nice.
Come let us build a monument to Ezra.
Good a very nice monument.
You did that nicely
Can you do another?
Let me try and do one.
Let us all try and do one.
Let the little girl over there on the corner try and do one.
Come on little girl.
Do one for Ezra.
You have all been successful children.
Now let us clean the mess up.
The Dial does a monument to Proust.
We have done a monument to Ezra.
A monument is a monument.
After all it is the spirit of the thing that counts.

Ernest Hemingway- Paris 1923


-The last millstone-

Ernest Hemingway’s last ‘unfinished’ novel was published in 1986. He wrote a first draft of the book while in Cuba in 1946, where he was recovering from the war, and [in his own words] ‘alcohol and ruthlessness’. Four concussions sustained in just two years, insomnia, headaches, nightmares and slowness of thought and speech limited the full might of his writing The novel that would become ‘The Garden of Eden’, and that he tried to complete over many years can be seen as Hemingway’s most vulnerable and personal. The novel is at odds with his expertly honed public image, showing the other side of a hypermasculine legend. In a letter written in 1958 Hemingway predicted that completion of the book would take ‘a mere three weeks’, but publication of this novel may never have been intended. In 1961 when Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in his home in Ketchum, Idaho, 1500 pages lay incompleted, eventually to be cut and published as a lean- but headless 247-page novel.


‘Getting very big,’ writes Ernest Hemingway from his Cuban estate. The year is 1947, and Hemingway, surrounded by packs of beloved old cats and sycophants, isn't referring to his belly or his ego, but to The Garden of Eden -- a 1,000 page novel that's nowhere near finished after a full year's work. ‘I cut the hell out of it periodically,’ he claims, but over the next twelve years he edits far less than he adds: Hemingway's last novel grows to 1,500 pages, his instinct for omission fails, he runs out of time, and in the end, 25 years after his death, someone else has to do the cutting for him.’


This task befell Scribner’s editor Tom Jenks in 1986, than 35 y of age. Jenks was a previous fiction editor at Esquire, and had been recruited by Scribner’s to help finding hot new writers. In his new position Jenks embarked on the editing task for what would become a gargantuan undertaking lasting much of a year.
Charles Scribner remarked of his travail:

‘Jenks had to make the book his own. He abandoned most of his other projects and worked twelve to fifteen hours a day. As far as I could see, he committed the entire thing to memory. He made a career out of it.’

-Apprehensive for criticism that the book would be seen as his rather than Hemingway’s, Jenks would remark after completion of the editing:

‘I did only what I thought Hemingway would have done, the book is full of tremendous writing, and a damned good story, and everything in here is his. I cut and rearranged, but added nothing, rewrote nothing.’


The final complete chapter of ‘The Garden of Eden’ published in a Grafton Books paperback reads:

-Chapter 30-

‘David woke in the morning when the first light came in the window. It was still gray outside and there were different pine trunks than the ones he usually woke to see and a longer gap beyond them toward the sea. His right arm was stiff because he had slept on it. Then awake, he knew he was in as strange bed and he saw Marita lying sleeping by him. He remembered everything and he looked at her lovingly and covered her fresh brown body with the sheet and then kissed her very lightly again and putting on his dressing gown walked out into the dew-wet early morning carrying the image of how she looked with him to his room. He took a cold shower, shaved, put on a shirt and a pair of shorts and walked down to his working room. He stopped at the door of Marita’s room and opened it very carefully. He stood and looked at her sleeping, and closed the door and went into the room where he worked.

He got out his pencils and a new cahier, sharpened five pencils and began to write the story of his father and the raid in the year of the Maji Maji rebellion that had started with the trek across the bitter lake. He made the crossing now and completed the dreadful trek of the first day when the sunrise had caught them with the part that had to be done in the dark only half finished and the mirages already making as the heat became unbearable. By the time the morning was well advanced and a strong fresh east breeze was blowing through the pines from the sea he had finished the night at the first camp under the fig trees where the water came down from the escarpment and was moving out of that camp in the early morning and up the long draw that led to the steep cut onto the escarpment.
He found he knew much more about his father than when he had first written his story and he knew he could measure his progress by the small things which made his father more tactile and to have more dimensions than he had in the story before. He was fortunate, just now, that his father was not a simple man.

David wrote steadily and well and the sentences that he had made before came to him complete and entire and he put them down, corrected them, and cut them as if he were going over proof. Not a sentence was missing and there were many that he put down as they were returned to him without changing them. By two o’clock he had recovered, corrected and improved what it had taken him five days to write originally. He wrote on a while longer now and there was no sign that any of it would ever cease returning to him intact.’

Epilogue from the ‘Garden of Eden’ by Ernest Hemingway- Grafton Books 1988


-The dilemma faced by- and seen through by Scribner and Jenks may not be over till it’s over. ‘Pappa’ will be waiting for them at the Pearly Gates-

‘But there's still one interested party Scribner and Jenks haven't heard from. "In the life hereafter I may meet Ernest,’ says Scribner. ‘I'll be interested to learn how he feels about what we've done. If he doesn't approve, I'm sure to know it.’ ‘On the day I die, I know he'll be waiting for me,’ says Jenks. ‘I hope it's all right.’

Source: ‘How Scribner crafted an Ernest Hemingway novel’ – New York magazine 1986


posted by Walter at 11/02/2002

Friday, November 01, 2002

SIGN of the CROW-

‘Why can’t we?’

If ideas amount to institutions
Why use a scripted challenge
Culminating into yet another
Boardroom siege?

Convene a meeting of
Corporate mongrels
And urge all participants
To dress in black

This concept may further benefit from:


A fistful of coins
A bucketful of dirt
A defunct wristwatch
A microscope
A miniature human skeleton
A tumbler of Scotch
A box of 78 rpm records
And a white morning-coat


Distribute these items
To the number of participants

In the instant age
The need for a haunting experience
Is increasingly manifest
Undesirables, scapegoats
Stool-pigeons, and the meek
Are all in need of urgent gratification

Suppose a makeshift meeting room
Will be called ‘The Consort’s Post’
Its proceedings could become a catalogue of
Speculation, persuasion, and determination
Black dressed executives would
Boost the development of imaginative property
Long entrenched suspicions would dissipate
While rekindling childhood imagination-

The corporate ideal however is more banal
Broadband ubiquity runs parallel with the
Intricacies of electronic padlocking-
Hyperbolic sound bites and leveraged PR
Mask a cold reliance on a bit-by-byte economy

Who are the prophets of that bluntly crafted
Geo-psychological mirage?

Counter technology and deflate the myth-


-The fistful of coins-
Consider each piece- blood money for hurt sensibilities
Engage these effects by strategic thinking

-The bucketful of dirt-
Salt- or anything to function as a mud mask
Camouflage precedes the competitive animal

-The defunct wristwatch-
Wasted time may build monopolies
Remember there are no stupid questions

-The microscope-
Catalogue your mistakes- track the origins of shape
Mirror yourself one-on-one

-The miniature human skeleton-
Imagine an unmanned process- A company run by different predators-
Amoral harbingers of a velvet Renaissance

-The tumbler of Scotch-
Rocks of ice bobbing in the full flow of elaborated thought
Summon a piqued mood sensation- wordless and humble

-The box of 78rpm records-
Consider Charles Chaplin in: ‘The Animal Trainer & The Sardine Song’
Savor imperfection- and revel at ancient sophistication

-The white morning-coat
After the meeting- you will be transformed in a Totem of texture-
Owner of prized possessions- tailored- monumental


The aftermath of the past age has seen the overall
Faltering of human affairs-
An effective turbocharged retro-evolutionary voyage
May offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance:
Anyone should be entitled to a global silhouette and
Be adaptable to a diversity of decors
Ready to embrace a circle of listeners eager to embark
On a remodeled low-tech- grungy version of the West


© Walter van Lotringen – 2002


posted by Walter at 11/01/2002

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

-Far and wide- Bits and pieces from the news-


1927-NEW YORK- A dog that understands innumerable orders without the aid of vision cues and executes them with the apparent intelligence of a child of eight was exhibited before Professor C.J.Warden class in psychology.
Fellow, a five-year old German shepherd dog, has learned between 300 and 400 words in his four years of training. The instructions were in the following vein:
‘Go to the table Fellow. Put your head to it. Put one foot and your head to it. Now, you can jump on the table. Sit down. Now stand up.’

2002-MADRID- A serial killer sentenced to 440 years in jail for raping and strangling 16 elderly widows was murdered in prison, officials said.
‘Two prisoners with makeshift knives attacked Jose Antonio Rodriquez Vega, 44, in the courtyard of Topas jail in western Salamanca Province on Thursday, two days after his transfer from another facility where inmates had also attacked him, said the prison director, Jose Ignacio Bermudez.
The Topas attackers said they had acted because Rodriquez Vega was a rapist and under the code of honor among prisoners that made him a pariah, Bermudez said.
An unarmed prison guard tried to pull them off but could not. Bermudez denied reports the inmates had identified Rodriquez Vega from a crime show broadcast in February by the television affiliate of the newspaper El Mundo.

2002-.BANGKOK- Christina Aguilera’s new video has been banned in Thailand. It’s not the belly-baring and raunchy outfits- the video for Dirrty shows Aguilera dancing in a boxing ring next to some posters with Thai written on them. Unbeknown to the people who made the video, the posters apparently boast of ‘Thailand sex tourism’ and ‘young underage girls.’ After a furor that saw Thailand’s main TV channel getting hot under the collar and shocked lawmakers making outraged noises, Saharat Wannachomphu, marketing director for local distributors of Aguilera’s new album, said they were pulling the video.

1902-PARIS- There is no longer an official ‘claque’ at the Comedie-Francaise, entrusted with the duty of meting out applause to the actors under the critical direction of a sage ‘chef de claque.’ The reform was carried out six months ago and proved satisfactory to the actors- and.. the public. But it involved the dismissal of the leader of the ‘claque,’ M. Darlaud, who had held the post since 1881. M. Darland is exceedingly wroth at his dismissal after so many years of applause and has sued for 30,000fr. damages.

2002- LONDON- What do business travelers want? What makes a good hotel? A survey by American Express of 1400 international business travelers from 14 countries indicates that Internet access and free breakfast rates are nearly equal in appeal (29 percent and 26 percent respectively), followed by business facilities (16 percent), VIP check-in and checkout (13 percent) and health club access (12 percent). Americans (40 percent), Mexicans (39 percent) and Japanese (35 percent) are most concerned about being connected to the Internet in the room. Britons are the least concerned (16 percent). A free breakfast rates high among Swedes (42 percent), Germans (34 percent), and Britons (31 percent). Asians most value business facilities- Singaporeans (24 percent), Hong Kong travelers (24 percent) and Japanese (23 percent).
Sightseeing is the most popular way to unwind (67 percent), followed by getting together with colleagues or clients (60 percent). Canadians (39 percent), Americans (38 percent), and British and Mexicans (37 percent) are more likely than others to add vacation time before or after a business trip.

2002-YEREVAN ARMENIA- Former president of Russia Boris Yeltsin was given the royal treatment at a brandy distillery, sampling from a barrel aged 100 years and having a vat of this year’s vintage named after him. Officials at the Yerevan Brandy Factory also showed Yeltsin that he’s worth his weight in the tawny liquor, putting him on a scale balanced by cases of brandy and presenting him with crates of bottles matching his weight- about 130 kilograms. He sipped and sniffed a glass poured from a barrel of 1902 Nairi brandy, said to have been opened only twice before- once in 1979 and once this year to honor an anniversary of the distillery purchase by Pernod Ricard of France.

2002- WASHINGTON- Before president George W.Bush boards Air Force One, his staff makes sure that the jumbo jet’s televisions are tuned to ESPN or anything other than the relentless bleat of the cable news. Otherwise Bush might spot an offending CNN or Fox news crawl and demand, as he has in the past, ‘Who turned that on?’
Sometimes the staff will have a videotape of a Texas Rangers game for Bush, but at other times he’ll unwind by watching one of the war movies he has relished since Sept. 11, 2001. On every flight there are always baskets of candy bars, fresh fruit, and a sense of sanctuary. These days Bush’s flying cocoon also includes clutches of congressional candidates in the VIP section in the aft of the plane. Many of these passengers are in feverish anticipation of the political splash that they will make on the tarmac back home. In the second Bush White House, Air Force One has become both a presidential retreat and a potent political tool. Every president since John Kennedy has had a love affair with his aircraft’s luxuries and ability to attract votes, but under Bush the lure has increased.
Bush use of his Boeing 747s (he has two) offers a revealing glimpse into his personality, and into the midterm election tactics of the White House. During his recent trips the President was wearing a bomber jacket embroidered with his name. The plane is also used with an eye toward 2004, as Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political adviser makes sure it is dramatically parked on the runways of key electoral prizes.
The food on Air Force One, prepared by Air Force stewards will never win any culinary or dietary awards, although Bush seems to like it. Last June, on a day when Bush was in Florida promoting fitness, the official Air Force One lunch, printed on gold-edged menu cards for every passenger, consisted of a corned beef sandwich, fries and strawberry cheesecake. Bush ordered from the menu that day, opting for an egg salad sandwich on toast- one of the president’s favorite foods.

1902- PARIS- The Minister of Public Instruction presided at the inauguration of the Pantheon pendulum, which has been placed there to commemorate the experiment in 1851 by the physicist Foucault to prove that the earth revolved. The pendulum consist of a globe suspended by a wire from the cupola. From the globe there issues a needle which marks lines in sand placed under the pendulum. At each swing it made a different mark in the sand, which is regarded as proof that it must be the earth that has moved.

Sources: NYT- Associated Press- IHT


posted by Walter at 10/30/2002

-Weapons of self destruction-

My current post needs no extrapolation. The ready facts that I’ve found while browsing through a few websources speak for themselves. The conclusion of the ‘Beltway sniper’ case will not be the last, given the overwhelming odds so many Americans are exposed to.


‘Forty percent of high school seniors can’t name three South American countries... one-third of today's ninth graders can't write a brief summary of a newspaper story. Will [these people] be able to take phone messages from important clients?"

Louis Gerstner, Jr. President of American Express 1982 - 1993


-Every day, the typical 14-year-old watched three hours of TV and does one hour of homework.
-Every day, over 2,200 kids drop out of school.
-Every day, 3,610 teenagers are assaulted, 630 are robbed, and 80 are raped.
-Every day, 500 adolescents begin using illegal drugs and 1,000 begin drinking alcohol.
-Every day, 1,000 unwed teenage girls become mothers.
-Every day, over 2500 American children witness the divorce or separation of their parents.
-Every day, 90 kids are taken from their parents' custody and committed to foster homes.
-Every day, 13 Americans aged 15 to 24 commit suicide, and another 16 are murdered.

-America has the largest number of functional illiterates in the industrial world
-Seventy million Americans own guns, and 48 percent of all households have at least one firearm.
-There are 200 million firearms of all types in the U.S., including 60-70 million handguns and 40 million rifles, 2-3
million of which are assault rifles. Two million new handguns are sold each year.
-There are 245,000 federally licensed gun dealers nationwide.
-The average murderer serves less than seven years because of prison crowding.
-The average hospital bill for a gunshot victim is $13,200, while total medical expenses can reach $3 million
-During every 100 hours on US inner-city streets, three times more young American men lose their lives in gunfire
than were young American men killed during the 100 hours of Operation Desert Storm.
-In 1992, handguns were used in the murders of 33 people in Britain, 36 in Sweden, 97 in Switzerland, 128 in
Canada, 13 in Australia, 60 in Japan, and 13,220 in the United States.

-52 percent of Americans favor banning private ownership of handguns.
-77 percent of Americans believe that guns are a public health problem.


In today’s IHT, columnist Bob Herbert offers a battle-weary, yet impassionate recount of a distressed America
trying to cope with urban realities. Meanwhile, the White House stands ready to commit itself to a media-charged, self-serving war.


-John Allen Muhammad, 41, is a serial loser. He is a failed businessman whose karate school and car-repair business went bust, a twice-divorced father whose ex-wives did not trust him with his children, a man whose uremarkably messy life disintegrated into homelessness and theft.
He was a mediocre soldier who was convicted of striking a sergeant in the head, and he was not ‘anything special’ as a marksman, according to a former platoon leader.’

-The Washington Post-


An excerpt from the article- ‘In a culture of violence, every citizen suffers’- by Bob Herbert


-Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25 was using the vacuum to clean up her minivan around 10.a.m. on Oct. 3 when a shot from the so-called Beltway sniper slammed into her back and killed her-

‘The United States is saturated with violence. Thousands upon thousands of murders are committed each year. There are more than 200 million guns in circulation. Murder is so routine, including the killing of children, it doesn’t warrant serious news coverage in most cases. Americans don’t know what to do about all this violence. We don’t know how to process it. We don’t even know how to cover it. We sensationalize it, glamorize it, eroticize it.

Americans are fascinated, not by the victims (or by the people with serious ideas about how we might prevent some of this violence) but by the killers. With the exception of her family and friends, nobody knows who Lori Ann Lewis –Rivera was. But through their exploits, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo have purchased a permanent place in America’s culture of notoriety.
In the popular culture of movies, television and video games, murder is such a staple we seldom give it a second thought. If a bare breast were shown on network television, it would make headlines from coast to caost. But homicides are fed to us as routinely as commercials for cars and beer. Bang! She’s dead. We’ll return to this delightful carnage after a word from our sponsor.
Lewis-Rivera, who was married and the mother of a 3-year old girl, and all the other victims of the Beltway sniper will soon be completely forgotten by the general public.
New victims will take their place in America’s consciousness, but only momentarily. The violence in American society is as relentless and impersonal as an automobile assembly line.

Muhammad and Malvo may have been the ones actually cruising the streets day and night snuffing out innocent lives. But it’s the rest of the country that has tolerated, encouraged, even embraced a culture of such violence and relentless dehumanization that the death of Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera really means nothing. Americans murder one another by the tens of thousands, and there is no sign anywhere that that is about to change.’

Source: IHT


posted by Walter at 10/30/2002