A rare archival photo of Allana at her summer job?
I spend my summers doing manual labour, living in a tent. It's not glamorous, but it is good for the skin. (Until I get cancer.) Since I've been back, I've lived in a house on a dirt road, kilometres from the nearest convenience store. I don't have internet access at home. Thus, a six-month delay in both finishing book and blog and removing the word "failure" from my self-description.
I will, however, let you in on a choice upside to my current hermitage in the wilderness: my house contains a respectable library to which I have unfettered access. (I fancy myself a bit of a caretaker, actually.) What this means for you, dear reader, is that whenever I look something up in the Oxford Universal, the Chambers Biographical, or Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (so good), you now have the assurance that I haven't just copy-pasted some quasi-reliable Wiki, or even done a lackadaisical search on the Difference Dictionary. I'm doing it the old-fashioned way for the first time in my short, technology-addled life. And it's embarrassing to note how weak my short-term memory can be, and how desperately I wish these books were illustrated.
For example, the Leyden-jar mentioned on page 245, according to the OUD, is an electrical apparatus conducting charge from a tinfoil-coated glass bulb via a brass rod running through its corked lid. It uses the phrase "communicating with the internal armature." Now you know. (Sort of.)
Then I asked the CBD about a "Ballester-Molina" handgun, only to find a golfer and a Jesuit, which, though unhelpful, led me on a fascinating referential journey on the concept of original sin. (From 1449: "The sect of Pelagianys, which helden that a man bi his fre wil mai deserue heuen withoute grace.")
A phalanstery, circa 1850, refers to the Rousseauian and Fourierist (that's Charles, the social theorist, not Jean Baptiste, the mathematician that hung out with Napoleon) conception of small, socially integrated communities, self-sustaining and familiar. Rooted from "phalanx." Related to Panty-suckers. Err, Pantisocrats, who simply think all men are equal.
(And did you know that there is a Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, not just a Samuel Taylor Coleridge? The former being the composer of Hiawatha, I feel it would be especially unfortunate to confuse the two.)
Written by Allana on Monday, October 25, 2010