Sunday, March 03, 2013

Where we holed up

(Photos by your humble blogkeeper)
Get city folks in the country, and they think: "Where do we store the loot?"

Me and Palmqvist — "Killer" Palmqvist; she says calling a woman by her last name is unladylike — figured that after we knocked over a couple of banks, we'd find some out-of-the-way farmhouse where we could hole up until the heat died down.

We found good escape routes and a place to divvy the dosh, only all the dinky banks that once made such easy targets along Maryland's Eastern Shore had been converted to upscale steakhouses and pizzerias.

So we'll move on. In the meantime, we posed as egg-headed collectors and riffled old books at Bookplate in Chestertown and Unicorn Bookshop in Trappe and Mystery Loves Company in Oxford.

I had to buy something in order to avoid suspicion. I came up with:
Not the Mississippi 
River delta
© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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24 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

Glad to see those bookstores haven't yet gone the way of the banks.

March 03, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, we did come across one bookstore that was closing, though it was a relatively new store specializing in rare books, perhaps too niche an establishment to last.

It's odd for a city dweller to drive though small towns and cities and see these little bank buildings that date probably from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that look like micro-miniature versions of their counterparts in big cities. Even odder than the ones that have been converted for other uses are the ones that have remained bank branches. It's a screwy feeling to see tiny buildings with one teller bearing the names of banking megacorporations.

March 03, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Without further comment, your anti-adverb Gulf coaster offers you only this: Happy National Grammar Day (3/4/13).

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'm touched by your kind wishes--deeply, marvelously, and wonderfully so.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I think you'll like the early stuff from Rousseau's Confessions. There we find the answers to the question: aside from a burning desire for justice, what do Rousseau and Jesse Jackson have in common?


A:

They both pissed in the soup when they worked as waiters.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Well, so much for ever again having soup in restaurants. Perhaps all restaurants are now off limits. Thanks!

Postscript: I worked in restaurants in my 20s and 30s, but I do not remember anyone actually trashing the food in any way. Perhaps I was not paying attention.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have not got to any soup-pissing yet, but I have been reminded of a few things:

1) That Rousseau, like the other philosophies, is easy to read for a non-fluent reader of French, such as me. I attribute this to what Hume called a desire to act as an emissary between the world of learning and the world of conversation. These guys wrote clearly, concisely, and coherently because they were writing for a public audience.

2) That the openness and self-absorption of the Confessions should make him Rousseau congenial to readers in this age of confession, though I suspect Rousseau had a greater respect for truth than does, say, Lance Armstrong.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

"These guys wrote clearly, concisely, and coherently because they were writing for a public audience." Yikes, you dare to present a series of adverbs, but the punctuation and alliteration are wonderful and correct. So saith the pedant.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dreadfully sorry about the adverbs, old chum.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Maybe you were too busy trying to ingratiate yourself with the customers to notice all the back-of-the-house staff zipping up their flies and cackling.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Not to worry. I read them enthusiastically and joyfully.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter, RT

Pissing in the soup is also a popular theme in Fight Club.

Stephen Maturn, a fictional character in Patrick OBrian's novels, has a theory that the Confessions must be fictional otherwise the philosophical disconnect with Emile and the Nouvelle Heloise would be too great: in the latter Rousseau talks about the best and most loving methods for raising a child and in the latter he talks about giving away his own children from his mistress to be raised and likely die be raped/abused etc. in the common orphanage. Maturin's argument to a disciple of Rousseau in one of the books is of the "when did you stop beating your wife kind"...either the Confessions are fictional or Rousseau is a hypocrite and monster.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, but I insist: You read them with enthusiasm and joy.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have heard good things about The Fight Club, but nothing about pissing in the soup.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Absolutely!
Now, I return to my reading of Jack Miles' GOD: A BIOGRAPHY. Hey, who knew the old fellow was so damned interesting!
Ciao!

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian: I read chunk of Emile for a course on eighteenth-century European intellectual history some years ago. They theory quite naturally emerged that the Emile is, in part, overcompensation for his abandonment of his own children.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I have heard good things about Jack Miles, and the world needs more authors would good, old, no-nonsense names like "Jack." But I've always been wary of books that purport to be biographies of anything but humans. On the other hand, Peter Ackroyd has written a number of such books, and I bought one of his books this week. So perhaps I'll expand my horizons by reading a biography of a city, a germ, or an ineffable, all-embracing cosmic entity in the coming twelve months.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I read that Jack Miles book sometime ago and liked it. If I recall right, it is really more about how you CAN'T make a coherent biography out of the various aspects of God as the Bible tells it.

Since you're all talking Rousseau, I'm wondering if anybody can help me with the names of two characters in some classic French novel, probably minor, and I'm thinking maybe in Rousseau. The reason ask is that I read a modern novel based on them and I can't seem to find any way to get a handle on it. Something like 'blah-blah' and Puvochet, whic is probably not very close.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aha! An ironic title, then. Mr. Miles interests me strangely. Rousseau wrote in many forms, but I'm not sure fiction was among them. But I'll rely on readers who know their Rousseau better than I do for clues to the identity of those characters.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

Somewhere in my possession I have the book, but probably in my storage shed.

R.T. will have to tell you if I am giving you the right impression about the Miles book, because it has been quite awhile since I read it.

March 04, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

It is my impression after 25% of the book that God, according to Miles, is a bit like all of us--complex, conflicted, anxious, fickle, unpredictable, and ever-changing. This, of course, makes sense in light of the early statement in Genesis about humans created in His image, with the inverse of that proposition being logical (i.e., His character and personality is much like a human's). This is NOT theology, of course, but it is literary criticism. Alas, after about 16 years of age, I have never been much of a "believer" in the logic of theology and religions, but instead I cannot deny the "reality" of His existence in human terms. In any case, Miles takes on God much in the way you would expect A. C. Bradley and Harold Bloom to take on Hamlet. So, I am drawn to Miles' book in the same that I favor Bradley and Bloom.

And, Peter, as for Ackroyd, he also is a favorite of mine. His biographies of Shakespeare and Blake are favorites of mine. His "biography" of London left me somewhat cold when I attempted it a few years ago. Perhaps I will try it again.

I might even try Rousseau again. Thanks!

March 05, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, Harold Bloom has remarked that some readers take aesthetic pleasure from the Bible and others find religious consolation in Shakespeare.

March 05, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

The book I was thinking of was Bouvard et Pécuchet by Flaubert. I don't think I read it, I think I read a mordern novel about the characters, but I have no idea what it was. It seems unlikely that I would have just sat down and read that particular work of Flaubert at random.

March 05, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's an "unfinished satirical work," apparently, which means it may be worth a look. I'd agree it's unlikely you would not have sat down and read that book. I like to think that my not having heard of it before suggests it may not be among Flaubert's better-known works.

March 05, 2013  

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