The Salem Orientalist Society
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Lady from Spain
Whose husband was always a pain
So she slapped him again
And again and again
And again and again and again.
Here I am on the 4th of July in 1986 (though Ellen seems to have thought it was Pioneer Day):
Monday, November 05, 2007
A late but true story for Halloween
Here's some pictures of old cemeteries I took this past year:
Gunston Hall, VA
Camp Floyd, UT
Cade's Cove, TN
Friday, August 31, 2007
Time what an empty vapor tis
I'm living in Roland Park, which is the part of town where rich people built really big houses about a hundred years ago, in a house that is both really big and a hundred years old, with the old guy who owns it, his son, and three other borders. The old guy loves to talk, likes to feed me, and is fortunately an interesting person and a pretty good cook. He owns perfume factories in Hawaii so sometimes he's out there, and sometimes he's at his other house in Provence somewhere. He has three Porches, two Alfa Romeos and a Jaguar XJS, and he told me I could drive any of them any time I wanted, but I was too embarrassed to admit that I can't drive a stick. Normally, he speaks very carefully and tries hard to sound erudite, but when he's been drinking he sounds like the Bronx that he grew up in. He used to have a ton of money at some point, apparently, but it's not mostly there any more, from what I can tell. It's kind of funny and makes me feel all the more like I never really want any money at all.
But as nice as Baltimore is, I'm defending my dissertation proposal a week from today, and if all goes well, I'll be free for the next year to do whatever I want wherever I want with no obligation to be at Maryland. So I'm moving to Knoxville in January and I wish I were moving there today. I'm actually in Knoxville right now, looking out a window at a Norway maple, thinking about what Summer was like in 1987, wondering about what it will be like in 2037, and realizing just how little time there is in between. Yesterday a 93 year old man who has a highway named after him (GA 100 in Heard county) told me that if I ever find myself talking with anyone stupid, I make sure everyone who's watching can tell the difference.
Here's some pictures of Baltimore, a cat in a windowsill, and a unit of toxic Easter eggs that I took in 2000:
Thursday, June 21, 2007
A quick update, on the Longest Day of the Year
Looks like I'll be moving to Baltimore by the end of July, though, cause my landlord is selling the house out from under me, and I'm going to move in with somebody else I know if all goes well. Plus, I'll be happy to get out of PG County, after they shot the lady down the street... but that's another story. I should finish up that story I started with, by the way, and then get out of here while you still remember who I am.
Here's some more slides I scanned:
Monday, April 09, 2007
Yours with spring on the mind
I've got some slides for you all to make an easy post and get you all to quit clamoring for an update while I'm busy reading for my exams (which will be on the 9th to 11th of May, followed by orals on the 21st).
Incidentally (assuming I pass these exams), I'm going to be working on my dissertation next year with no classes, no teaching, and no assistanceship, meaning I will have no obligation to be here, so I can theoretically be wherever I want to be. I'm trying to decide where that is.
These are all Kodachrome 25 from 2000.
Here's when we dug up a forty year old freezer in our back yard. It was full of ashes. We enlarged the hole and moved it a few feet so it would be out of the way of the greenhouse we were building, and then re-buried it.
Later, I cut the head of this thing and mounted it on a nice wooden plaque, gave it to my brother for his birthday. He's still got it on his wall, and for all the people who've been over there, only one has ever asked him about it, he tells me.
Depending on how you look at it, this might be the ugliest or the most beautiful fruit in the world.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
This could be you, but not really, parts III, IV, and V
1. Yesterday, I went up to New York on the Chinatown Bus, spent what time I had looking for cheap shoes in Chinatown and visiting the Whitney. Then, I headed out to Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn, built in 1849, where Henry Ward Beecher peached back in the day (I had to put aside my politics to enjoy it, but that's so often the case up North...) and where the BBC was filming a television program (programme, I suppose...) about the history of the song "Amazing Grace." We sang a couple versions a whole bunch of times while they shot us from one angle and then another, and it was actually kind of fun. Less fun was later when a few of us were on our way to a Chinese restaurant and a couple of the perky young Boston/Amherst people (who all needs to be learned a thing or two) started singing as we walked down the street. I slowed up and walked just far enough behind to avoid (I hoped) being associated, and, serendipitously, to avoid a couple of snowballs (well deserved)... I took the 11:00 PM bus home so I could be at work in the morning. And, incidentally, there was a man there by the name of Rick Wakeman who was apparently once or is possibly still a member of the band Yes. I didn't know this, mind you, until after we had left, and found it rather amusing that old guy with long hair who introduced us was someone I've heard before a time or two. So, anyway, if anybody's going to be in Britain the week before Easter, watch for me on BBC1.
2. A week ago tomorrow, I went down to Richmond and was hoping to make it to Petersburg before hand, but didn't have quite enough time due to bad traffic, so I stopped instead at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine in Guinea Station. I had been told by someone who thought that they knew what they were talking about that the arm that was amputated shortly before his death was preserved there, so it was to my general disappointment that I discovered that the shrine is just the building in which he died, the 1824 farm office pictured below. The arm was actually buried around about the time he died, though not with his body. The shrine was a nice place, though, apparently a distant outpost of the Chancellorsville Battlefield Park that's only open on weekends, and the young lady from the Parks service seemed glad to have someone to give the tour to when I arrived. Back when I was in junior high school, every time I got to choose the topic to write a report on, I picked Confederate generals - I didn't ever get around to Stonewall Jackson, though.
3. By far the most important: The other morning, I got up with the name "Roscoe Conkling" inexplicably in mind. I decided it must be somebody from the first part of the century before last, since I've been doing a lot of reading in that area of late, and then forgot about it. When I started thinking about Roscoe Conkling again at lunch time, I looked him up, and was perplexed to find that he was a senator from New York, did what he's remembered for after the Civil War, and, so far as I could tell, is unlikely to have come up in anything that I've read since I was taking American history in high school.
Later that evening, I went up to Baltimore to see a man who describes himself as "New York City's angriest yodeling banjo player." Apart from more than living up to his moniker, he did a lot of songs with cloying nostalgia for things like Coney Island in 1903, which I thought were terrific, and he closed with one ruing the day that movies started talking, whose refrain lamented the loss of Buster Keaton. One of the lines in that song alluded to Fatty Arbuckle, which made me smile as it's been years since I've had occasion to think of him.
First thing I did when I got home was to look on the internet for a picture of Fatty Arbuckle throwing a pie, and I wish I could express the awful dread that took me as I read on the first page I came to that Fatty Arbuckle's real name was ROSCOE CONKLING Arbuckle. I'm not sure what else to say about this incident apart from the obvious fact that my life will never be the same. Here's Fatty helping himself to some money. Never did find one with him throwing a pie.
Yours but not the same,
W. Tiger Purple