The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, April 30, 2007

More fun

Given the popularity of my last post on the mystery of the women's room, I am posting another "politically incorrect" video. This is an actual Bugs Bunny cartoon from circa 1944 in which the title character "Nips the nips." Classical cartoon propaganda.

Disclaimer: I did not make this cartoon, nor do I espouse the views expressed therein, and I am not promulgating racist ideology. I am merely offering a specimen of animation from the earlier part of the 20th century to my (mostly) humble readers to demonstrate the sorts of things that were actually produced and are now largely forgotten.

On a side note, I just submitted my last paper of the year. It was on Thomas Sprat's forgotten contribution to a volume of poems on the death of Oliver Cromwell. I surely broke a personal record for footnotes: about 4 pages of those alone!

I wish I had at least a couple of days off, but I must gather my wits and begin a tough course tomorrow on 18th century London, taught by Professor London (no jokes!). Since it is in my field, it is imperative that I do very well. I know the hockey playoffs are on, and I myself am in academic playoff mode!

I just upgraded my internet to 120 KB/sec, so I can actually watch CBC's streaming video. Go Sens!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

O Brave New World!

That's it: I finally moved into my new place. It's a decent enough bachelor, but it's the Taj Mahal compared to my previous place (room in an unhouselike house). I finished assembling my Ikea sofa bed, but I'm still pissed because those damn Swedes included 7 nuts when I needed 8, and their instructions, which are illustrations with absolutely no annotations, were probably drawn by a chimpanzee who is blind in one eye. Nevertheless, it's finished, and the Rogers cable dude just came by and installed my internet, so although I won't have phone service until May 3rd, I'll be connected to the world.

I'll ask my friend to take pics of the place on his digital camera. As soon as he does, I'll upload them for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 24, 1915

This post is in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who died as a result of the Armenian Genocide, which officially began on this date 92 years ago, at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

I went to the commemoration at Parliament Hill today, which I haven't been to since I was about 15 (yes, us young'uns would make the trek from Toronto, but this time, I was only a 20 minute walk away). The turnout was quite good, and among the speakers were Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Parti Quebecois, who delivered a very genuine and moving speech in which he said, among other things, "Quebec's motto is 'je me souviens.' Today, je me souviens with you." Also present were leaders from the Jewish, Rwandan and Sudanese/Darfurian community, who, as persons from groups who have suffered similar fates, expressed their deepest sympathies.

We may forgive, but we will never forget.

On that note, I must get back to working on Thomas Sprat

Monday, April 23, 2007

The mystery of the ladies' room


Ever wonder why women go to the restroom at the most inopportune times? Well, mystery solved!

Enjoy this amusing video.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy 300th, Mr. Fielding

April 22nd marks the tercentenary of Henry Fielding's birth. He is best remembered for his hilarious novel, Tom Jones. I have yet to read his other stuff, but I'm looking forward to doing so. I just found out yesterday that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, my favourite female wit of the 18th century, who was also his cousin, said of him he was "so formed for happiness, it is pity he was not immortal." A great epitaph!

The good news is that I finally found a topic for my Restoration paper. I managed to find something that virtually no one has discussed: Thomas Sprat's elegy on Cromwell (1659; Sprat is best known for his History of the Royal Society). It is a refreshing luxury to work on something that has not been criticized to death. It also gives me the freedom to choose virtually any angle without the fear that it has already been done.

I'm officially moving this coming weekend (Saturday the 28th). Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it. I'll finally have my own "pad," as they call it. Fortunately, I had a friend with a cargo van, so we went to Ikea last week and bought a bunch of furniture and moved it to the new place on the same day, so that makes my move much easier. I managed to furnish the place for under 600 bucks, which isn't too shabby (gosh, I can't remember the last time I spent so much at one time). I managed to find someone up the street who was selling a very good desk and chair combo for 60 bucks, so that helped a lot. When I get the chance, and a friend with a camera, I will post pics up here of the place for your delectation.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Musica, redux

Finally, an opportunity for all three of you to get a glimpse into the twisted world otherwise known as my mind via music.

I hereby offer, for your delectation, a sample of music rarely heard but whereof I think highly. It is a good (though not the best) track by an obscure Italian band "Aborym" off their 2006 album "Generator." They have been described as experimental/cult/black metal, but, in short, I've heard nothing else like them. You must listen to the entire song, or at least the first three minutes or so, to really appreciate the talent and originality (wait for the change). I know some of you will dislike it vehemently outright, but I don't care. There is much garbage or formulaic and predictable death/black metal out there, but these guys, though heavy, can be quite musical. I would also call their music atmospheric.

Warning: keep your fingers near the volume knob/button because it may be loud, although one needs headphones to appreciate the aural tapestry.

Keep in mind that I also listen to "normal" music: classical, trance, pop, etc.

Monday, April 09, 2007

And music shall untune the sky

I was recently toying with the idea of adding some music to this blog, and the I saw Dr. J beat me to it (the function is standard on myspace, but I had never seen it on blogspot). I'm currently experimenting with this, so please bear with me if it doesn't work at first.

If it does work, you are listening to the UEFA Champions League anthem. It is an actual recent piece of classical music written in a Handelian style (in fact, when I first heard it, I thought it was Handel). Enjoy.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Layton's Big (G)ass

I'm sure some of you have already seen this priceless blooper from Parliament Hill. I myself saw it sometimes in December, but I remembered it today (for some reason) and am offering it for your delectation.
Question period in the House of Commons is often funny, but this takes the cake.

O'Ragin O'Reilly and Rivera

J, you don't think Bill O'Reilly is entertaining? Watch this: I couldn't contain my laughter.

It starts off slowly and gets funny after about the 4 minute mark.

Reminds me of an exchange in an episode of Blackadder between the Prince Regent and the Duke of Wellington, played by Stephen Fry.

Duke: There's only one way to win a campaign: shout, shout, and shout again!
Prince: Don't you think that tactical ability and inspired leadership have anything to do with it?
Duke:....NO! (in a loud voice)

Bill OReilly Vs Geraldo - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Squirrel Strikes Again

Here's the latest episode from everyone's favourite ranting squirrel.
I completely agree with his (brief) rant on TV. I don't have a TV, and I don't think I can stand having one anymore anyway: the stupid shows piss me off, and the relentless commercials make me want to stick an icepick in my head. I could be wrong, but not having the idiot box on has cleared my head. If there's something worth watching, I will watch it online and/or eventually buy/watch it on DVD. TV is just a way for advertisers to infiltrate your home, nothing else; the paucity of good content makes it a nuisance more than anything else.


Crazy ass mutha...

Here is a clip of the most hated family in America. After about 2 minutes, you should have no difficulty determining why that is.
I agree that people should have their own opinions (conservative, liberal, etc), but this is just ridiculous. Makes you wonder how such people manage to function on a daily basis.

Most Hated Family In America - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Desultory notes on a Sunday

Just some random observations/thoughts:

-I'm about three years late, but I finally saw Lost in Translation. I know this film was all the rage when it came out, and I have just one word to say: OVERRATED!!!! I can't believe this film garnered all the attention it did. I thought Bill Murray was good, and there were some amusing moments, but that's about it. Scarlett Johanssen (sp?) was, as usual, an attractive but profoundly wooden character: I call her Miss flattened affect, because a rock has more affective range.

-Yesterday I saw one of my all time favourite movies: Back to the Future (the original). The film is nostalgic for me because I remember seeing it as a kid, but didn't fully understand it until I saw it a few years ago. The film is very 1980s without being silly.
It reminds me of how much things have changed: the 1980s was a very optimistic decade (in the west); we live in an age now full of irony and negativity.
The film is a very good "feel good" movie; it's almost reassuring to see George McFly change his life for the better by that one simple act.

-Next week is the last week of classes. As I have always been fond of courses, I never thought I would get sick of them, but it happened midway through this year. The feeling is nearly universal: other first year PhDs not only agree with me, but cite the same reasons (they are less an enjoyable time than a nuisance). I think it is a necessary step in academic evolution. After all, we are supposed to spread our wings very soon and become independent scholars.
I am in a slightly tricky situation: my last paper is due on April 30, and I move on May 1st. My summer course also starts on May 1! I'm gonna have to try to hand in that paper a few days early. Phew!