Thursday, May 28, 2009

Postcard from Key West

by J J Cohen

Every few years my brother and I take trip together. Ireland, for example, in 2006. Last weekend we went to Key West and South Beach together -- both of which are islands, but after that most resemblance to the Emerald Isle ceases. Best parts of the trip: being away from the stacks of annual reports that have been my albatross lately; listening to the sound of waves on sand; drinking margaritas and mojitos, especially at the Rose Bar of the Delano; hanging out and doing nothing; biking; beach reading; swimming; eating well; etc.

But now I am back, and no one seems to have finished those reports for me while I was away.

Still, I did bring you a souvenir. Someone sent me this link via Facebook (and I am sorry that I no longer remember who did so). I believe this device will be very useful to you as you try to get some work done this summer. It is, after all, described as "medieval love" when applied to children -- and it seems to me that this device is fun for all ages: it will assist you in dissertation inscription, tenure monograph composition, book review creation .... Enjoy!

3 comments:

afarber said...

I don't know ... unless that thing also comes with internet-disabling capabilities, it might not be much help. Or, I suppose, someone could just take my computer away and make me write with an actual pen and paper. It would, however, prevent me from getting up and cleaning instead of working, or from walking to the living room in search of more candy. So maybe I do need one.

And I had no idea this recent trip was with your brother. That's so cool. My brother and I ran around Europe together in '06, and we've been planning another trip (this time just to Italy), but we'll have to wait until I have a real job. After that, though, I'm hoping we can make it a semi-regular event. So you're an inspiration ;-)

Anonymous said...

The trip was a lot of fun -- from the biking and parasailing to the mojitos and margaritas. Plus no sunburn! I guess that SPF 1000 you used paid off ... Too bad it gives you no real fodder for this blog. Wait! Parallels between Jimmy Buffet lyrics and tales from Arthurian legend. Discuss. :)

- Your bro.

Karl Steel said...

Parallels between Jimmy Buffet lyrics and tales from Arthurian legend

I think we could see Raoul de Houdenc "Songe d'Enfer" as the terrifying flipside to "Cheeseburger in Paradise"

From this edition:
"Of course the most original and most extended inversion, the one for which the poem is today best known, and which was imitated in the Middle Ages [see Huon, l 412 and ll. 415-16, and an anonymous Salut d'Enfer, 'Belzebus fist appareillier / .J. userier cuit en .j. pot; / Aprés faus monnoiers en rost, / Et .j. cras moine a la soucie," qtd 17 n61, from Jubinal, Jongleurs et trouvères, Paris, 1835, pp. 43-44, ll. 20-24, and several more], is the grotesque exaggeration of the boiling, roasting, and spitting tortures of traditional Hell visions into the rollicking feast of the devils. The sinners are cooked in an endless array of dishes, pulverized, marinated, skewered, stuffed, larded, fried in butter and sauced with the traditional sauces of medieval cookery -- green sauce, hot sauce, Parisian sauce, Poitevin sauce, and more often than not, garlic sauce. Raoul de Houdenc's Hell reeks not of sulphur [sic] and decay, but of garlic" (17).

Let us compare this:
But at night i'd had these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat
Not zuchinni, fettucini or bulghar wheat
But a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat

to this, from the summary from the edition above [for some reason, I didn't transcribe the actual poem...]:

(448-486) The First Courses. The first dish is brought, champions in garlic sauce [these are duelists for hire in judicial combat, 122]. The second dish is usurers well-fattened on the goods of others; fat as they are, they are still larded by the cooks -- at least two fingers' thickness of fat on all sides. However, those of the hellish order (couvent) do not consider this dish a dainty, since it is their customary meal and always in season. Another dish appears: heaps of murderous thieves marinated in garlic, each one still red with the blood of his victims. Yet another dish is carried in, good and fresh, whores in green sauce with hind quarters like she-asses; most like this dish, especially its smell, and they lick their fingers. Raoul can still smell the stench.