Friday, June 23, 2006

The First Lady of Hollywood


That might be the first greeting ever on unhemmed & if so allow me to apologise for being a little behindhand.

In the second verse of Bob Dylan's wonderfully wordy number "Desolation Row", Cinderella 'puts her hands in her back pockets / Bette Davis style'. If anyone can send me a photo of Bette Davis herself doing this, I would be most grateful.



tempus fugit

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


feel like i'm always looking this word up

It's an illusion, though, isn't it?


"1. trans. To thicken, condense.

[...] fig. 1732 Historia Litteraria III. 249 When the Subject is limpid of it self, he frequently inspissates it, by throwing in a heap of Circumstances not Essential to it. 1884 E. E. HALE Xmas in Narrag. v. 117 No which you can inspissate entertainingness into a dull article.

2. intr. To become thick or dense, to thicken.

[...] 1836 MACGILLIVRAY tr. Humboldt's Trav. xvii. 225 Until the yolk..has time to inspissate."


Last night:

On Donnington Bridge, two milk floats in quick succession, at about 11-30pm. And huge quantities of horsedung.

This afternoon:

A young cyclist executing a perfect arm signal, his left arm fully - almost flamboyantly - horizontal. And right behind him, an older man, donnish in appearance, his bike helmet on bassackwards.

What's going on?

Monday, June 12, 2006


Monday, June 05, 2006


I was reading an essay by Frank Kermode today, called 'Can We Say Absolutely Anything We Like?' It was originally an MLA paper in 1974 but first published in a 1977 book of essays dedicated to Lionel Trilling, who had died 2 years previously (he was 70). Kermode talks about Michael Polanyi (1891-1976), the Hungarian-British physical chemist and philosopher - who reads Polanyi anymore? - and uses the word 'anamorphosis' quite a bit, and the opposition 'proximal' and 'distal'. This is what the OED gives as the primary definition of 'anamorphosis':

"A distorted projection or drawing of anything, so made that when viewed from a particular point, or by reflection from a suitable mirror, it appears regular and properly proportioned; a deformation."

(The other two definitions: one is botanical, the other rare.)

In passing, Kermode calls Roland Barthes 'nomoclastic', by which I think he means, that Barthes messes with the names of things, or even destroys the names of things (by analogy with 'iconoclastic'). The OED has nothing to say about 'nomoclastic' and nor, amazingly, does Google.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

ich bin