my favorite excerpts from the article that so kindly/terribly informed me of the gift shop located at the south pole:
—When Avery reached the pole, he was the youngest person to get there on foot, following a 45-day, 700-mile trek. In interviews, Avery’s father praised his son’s “stiff upper lip” - a lip that was extremely stiff since he was suffering from frostbite.
—Sara Wheeler, who has written widely on the Antarctic, has no time for modern-day adventuring. “I find it a bit of a yawn,” she says, “seeing how dead you can get, skiing down a crevasse on your willy - it’s all a big testosterone thing. The most important thing about Antarctica is that it is unowned - it remains unowned no matter how many countries make a claim.”
—Russia and the US, which once claimed four-fifths of Antarctica on the basis of visits by 19th-century whaling captains, reserve the right to make claims in the future.
There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man. You can make him carry a plank of wood to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this properly you require a crowd of people wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one man to hammer the nails home.
Or you can take a length of steel, shaped and chased in a traditional way, and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears. But for this you need white horses, English trees, men with bows and arrows, at least two flags, a prince, and a castle to hold your banquet in.
Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind allows, blow gas at him. But then you need a mile of mud sliced through with ditches, not to mention black boots, bomb craters, more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs and some round hats made of steel.
In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly miles above your victim and dispose of him by pressing one small switch. All you then require is an ocean to separate you, two systems of government, a nation’s scientists, several factories, a psychopath and land that no-one needs for several years.
These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century, and leave him there.
“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”—DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #64: Tiny Beautiful Things or; “What would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?”
alright, they must mean ‘english’ in the loosest sense, given that Ingénue, Susquehanna, Insouciance, and Ratatouille are just the ones i know off the top of my head come directly from other languages… but whatever. overall, it’s a nice-sounding list.
Ailurophile A cat-lover. Assemblage A gathering. Becoming Attractive. Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks. Brood To think alone. Bucolic In a lovely rural setting. Bungalow A small, cozy cottage. Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye. Comely Attractive. Conflate To blend together. Cynosure A focal point of admiration. Dalliance A brief love affair. Demesne Dominion, territory. Demure Shy and reserved. Denouement The resolution of a mystery. Desuetude Disuse. Desultory Slow, sluggish. Diaphanous Filmy. Dissemble Deceive. Dulcet Sweet, sugary. Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm. Effervescent Bubbly. Efflorescence Flowering, blooming. Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word. Elixir A good potion. Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech. Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion. Emollient A softener. Ephemeral Short-lived. Epiphany A sudden revelation. Erstwhile At one time, for a time. Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable. Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time. Evocative Suggestive. Fetching Pretty. Felicity Pleasantness. Forbearance Withholding response to provocation. Fugacious Fleeting. Furtive Shifty, sneaky. Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully. Glamour Beauty. Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk. Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free. Harbinger Messenger with news of the future. Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern. Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation. Imbue To infuse, instill. Incipient Beginning, in an early stage. Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible. Ingénue A naïve young woman. Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth. Insouciance Blithe nonchalance. Inure To become jaded. Labyrinthine Twisting and turning. Lagniappe A special kind of gift. Lagoon A small gulf or inlet. Languor Listlessness, inactivity. Lassitude Weariness, listlessness. Leisure Free time. Lilt To move musically or lively. Lissome Slender and graceful. Lithe Slender and flexible. Love Deep affection. Mellifluous Sweet sounding. Moiety One of two equal parts. Mondegreen A slip of the ear. Murmurous Murmuring. Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy. Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore. Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning. Opulent Lush, luxuriant. Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones. Panacea A solution for all problems Panoply A complete set. Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources. Penumbra A half-shadow. Petrichor The smell of earth after rain. Plethora A large quantity. Propinquity An inclination. Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses. Quintessential Most essential. Ratatouille A spicy French stew. Ravel To knit or unknit. Redolent Fragrant. Riparian By the bank of a stream. Ripple A very small wave. Scintilla A spark or very small thing. Sempiternal Eternal. Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem. Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else. Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny. Sumptuous Lush, luxurious. Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky. Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania. Susurrous Whispering, hissing. Talisman A good luck charm. Tintinnabulation Tinkling. Umbrella Protection from sun or rain. Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate. Vestigial In trace amounts. Wafture Waving. Wherewithal The means. Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
“If I had five million pounds I’d start a radio station because something needs to be done. It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn’t make you feel like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.”—Joe Strummer (via whiskeyandwheels)
as 1) a lady with an honors degree in english 2) a currently employed writer 3) someone who recently ended a three-and-a-half year-long relationship for reasons that remain fairly out in the ether: this piece terrifies me. mostly because of how true i think it probably is… at least for me.
and how now, by reposting this, i may or may not be encouraging interested parties not to (try to) date me.
Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.
Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.
Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.
Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.
Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.
Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.
Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.
Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you. -Charles Warnke
an encapsulation of why i don't care to hear from my alma mater(s)
"class note" for one of my classmates, whom i never knew.
[name retracted] and her family own the Old Town Ale House, Chicago’s “greatest dive bar.” She travels the country with her two show dogs, Arthur (currently the number-one field spaniel in America) and Eli (a wirehaired pointing griffon).
i don’t even know what to do with this information.
n. [Brit. wallesia] a condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there, which is your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life, subconsciously patting its emotional pockets before it leaves for the day.