A Necklace of Memorable Days
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"Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To be damned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonising preoccupation with self."
Iris Murdoch, The Nice and The Good
What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.
" She strung the afternoon on the necklace of memorable days, which was not too long for her to be able to recall this one or that one; this view, that city; to finger it, to feel it, to savour, sighing, the quality that made it unique."
Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being
"Why did I write any of my books, after all? For the sake of the pleasure, for the sake of the difficulty. I have no social purpose, no moral message; I've no general ideas to exploit, I just like composing riddles with elegant solutions."
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These are some of Melvin Charney's "Colonnes Allegoriques" in the sculpture
garden of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal...
The three faces of an animated billboard
29th Oct 2006, 23:37
From this morning's New York Times online
------------------------------------------------------------------------October 28, 2006Exposing an Ancient Rock and the Bigger Picture
By ANDY NEWMANIt?s not every day that a great big rock shows up on your block.But it happened on Vanderbilt Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The rock is
jagged, seven feet tall, very roughly nose-shaped, and covered with a fine,
tawny dust. A contractor digging a sewer line yanked it out of the street
bed on Tuesday and plunked it down at the curbside near Park Avenue.Since then, life on Vanderbilt Avenue has been subtly transformed. Adults
study the rock. Children trace shapes in its dusty face. Its gravitational
force seems to have slowed life a notch. For those who have come to love the
rock, it is a reminder that under the crust of the city lies the entire
planet.?It?s really kind of a visceral thing,? said Christopher P. Moore, a member
of the city?s Landmarks Preservation Commission who lives up the block from
the rock. ?You feel rocks, you feel the earth.?Susan Raskin came home from work on Tuesday to find her dog barking at the
rock in front of her house. Her cat seemed spooked by it, too. Ms. Raskin, a
children?s social worker, was not scared. She thought the rock was one of
the most lovely things she had ever seen.?Maybe it wouldn?t be a big deal if I lived in Colorado and there were
mountains,? she said yesterday morning as she stood beaming at the rock.
?But I live here. This is a big thing.?That it is, said the man who brought up the rock in the maw of his big
yellow excavator.?It weighs about 10 tons,? said the equipment operator, a scruffy man in a
green sweatshirt named John, who declined to give his last name because of
possible union difficulties. ?I had to break the street a little wider to
dig it out.?John was not awed by the rock, though. ?It was just in my way. Next week
we?ll take it to the dump.?Ms. Raskin sagged at this news. She said she wanted to take the rock home
and put it in her yard, along with the salvaged cobblestones and concrete
gnomes and pelicans and gargoyles. But the rock is too big to be a pet.?What if I have to sell my property and I have this huge rock in my yard??
she asked. ?It?ll cost me millions to get rid of it.?A reporter?s call to the Department of Environmental Protection, which is
digging the sewer line, brought a geologist to the site.?It?s a glacial erratic,? said the geologist, Eric Jordan, explaining that
it had probably tumbled out of a Wisconsin Episode glacier during the most
recent ice age.Mr. Jordan obtained a hammer and began whacking. Ms. Raskin could not bear
to look. But when he held up a piece of the speckled rock, she could not
help being impressed.?Look at that,? she said. ?It?s full of sparkles and rich grays and bright
whites and dark blacks.?Mr. Jordan said the rock was well over 400 million years old. ?It?s made up
primarily of quartz and mica minerals,? he said. ?You can see the mica
flakes.?He took a sample of it back to his office and by afternoon had identified it
as Ravenswood granodiorite, which makes up much of the bedrock of the
northern shore of Queens.He also said the rock was, in spots, magnetic.At the end of the day, the Department of Environmental Protection decided
that the rock was worth saving.Officials there offered it to the Parks Department, which quickly decided it
would look beautiful back in Queens, at a new park being constructed on the
former site of the Elmhurst gas tanks.?The community really wants a naturalistic setting, and a rock of this size
and scale is just perfect for what we?re trying to do,? Dorothy Lewandowski,
the Queens parks commissioner, said yesterday evening. ?We?re very excited
about this rock.?Ms. Raskin said she hoped the people of Queens would welcome their native
rock.?I?d love to be able to visit it,? she said. ?As long as it has a good
28th Oct 2006, 13:11