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In the neighborhood

Every time I go for a walk, I am surprised. Today it was that Emma Lazarus lived in this very nice building on 10th Street west of 5th Avenue. 


I also just learned that 77 St Marks Place, where La Palapa is, was home not just to W.H. Auden but earlier, a Russian newspaper called Novy Mir, one of whose staff writers was Tolstoy. 


And now I get to tell you one of my favorite jokes:


Q: What's the difference between a Trotskyist & a Trotskyite?

A: Same as the difference between a socialist & a socialite. 


Why is it funny? I can't say but it cracks up everyone. And people who know say it's accurate as well as funny. There ya have it. 


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The pleasures of inefficiency

Someone was giving away a complete, almost unopened set of the 1957 Encyclopædia Britannica, in 24 volumes. What a score! Several friends wondered why I would take up so much space when all that information is online and up to date. (I have the online version on my iPod Touch.) The difference is that the books send me the long and serendipitous way.

I may have gone to Volume 21 (Sord to Texas) to bone up on Terrellas (sadly, not there) but I got, or didn't get, there by way of Tapeworms (yuk), the Stamp Act (George Grenville, 1765), and Tennyson: "He became the victim of a certain 'earnest-frothy' speculator, who induced him to ... invest in a 'Patent Decorative Carving Company'; in a few months, the whole scheme collapsed, and Tennyson was left penniless." Which reminded me of Auden calling Tennyson "undoubtedly the stupidest" English poet, which in turn reminded me of Byron's savage "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," which made me wonder why poets today all get along.  Read More 
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