Tuesday, December 29, 2020



Mario wrote very seldom; in fact, for a long time past, the only signs of a writer about him were the pen and blank sheets of paper always lying ready on his desk. Those were the happiest days of his life, given up to dreams, and free from teasing practical problems; a sort of second childhood, more desirable even than the maturity of  a successful writer, whose words flow too glibly and with too little effort to the paper, leaving an empty husk which mistakes itself for ripe fruit.  Italo Svevo, The Hoax. (1929)


You see? You see? This is why E@L keeps loads and loads of books. Boxes and boxes of them. He picks up a volume at random and this gem of a paragraph unfolds before his eyes. How can one not relish that contradictory idea: the happiest days of his writing life were when he wasn't writing, even though he still thought of himself as a writer. So self-depricating in its contrariness, so freshly thought, so pretentiously unpretentious, so oxymoronical, so... so Svevoesque (new word, first in a long time!). 

This volume also contains The Story of The Nice Old Man and The Pretty Girl - a classic...

Sigh. E@L doesn't write anymore, but, unlike Mario, he doesn't kid himself/others that he's a writer either. 

Happy days for 


Saturday, December 05, 2020

In the current oeconomic climate...

Two thousand, three hundred and fifty years ago, trickle-down economics [sorta] was deemed bad and a progressive tax was imposed in Athens.   

"I saw, men of Athens, that your navy was decaying, and that, while the rich were getting off with small payments, citizens of moderate or small fortunes were losing their substance, and the state, by reason thereof, missing her opportunity of action. I therefore proposed a law, by which I compelled the one class (the rich) to perform their duty, and stopped the oppression of the poor; and --what was most useful to the country-- I caused her preparations to be made on time.

[On being offered bribes by the rich class to drop the law] "And no wonder they did so; for under the former laws they might divide the charge by sixteen, spending little or nothing themselves, and grinding down the needy citizens; whereas under my law everyone had to pay a sum proportioned to his means ..."  Demosthenes: On The Crown (330 BC).


Reagan, Thatcher and that lot: don't listen to them!!

And as for that Macedonian upstart, Philip, and his pisqueak son Alex... Don't listen to them either, listen to 


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