Book of Lyrics

Last night, I finally began to collect my favourite song lyrics for a binder of them in my room. I thought for a while about the first entry, for a song that I felt should not only be preserved but proliferated. A great song is one that is worth re-singing again and again.

The choice was clear. I choose Gilbert and Sullivan’s “He is an Englishman.”


Jack Kirby’s New Gods

Prophecies have ordained that the final battle of chaos and order shall take place in a firepit–a burning, blasting sore on the surface of Apokolips.

There the father shall face the son he gave to his greatest enemy, and die at his hand.

—Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen, Legion of Super-Heroes #294, 28

Warner and DC should be making a New Gods film trilogy… without Zack Snyder.

Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman on Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne

When we meet Suzanne she immediately wins our hearts. Who wouldn’t want to be like her. From the very start she is unique and powerful. She takes the initiative when she “takes you down to her place near the river”.

You never feel that she gets her clothes from the Salvation Army because she has to. No. She chooses to. The rags and feathers she wears are surely light and sensuous.

Either way she is glorious. You just know that she is completely at ease with her appearance.

“The sun pours down like honey” and “there are heroes in the seaweed.” She has made a world that conforms to her own kind of loveliness. And everybody wanted a part of it.

Suzanne Was The Ideal Of The Age” by Alexandra Shulman in Vogue [UK]

Umberto Eco, 1932–2016

Umberto Eco in 1984 by Rob Bogaerts (Wikipedia / Dutch National Archives)

I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking to the late Professor Umberto Eco during his visit to the Toronto Reference Library back in November 2011.

Mr. Eco was a jovial and witty soul, who loved a good joke, cinnamon sticks, myths, languages, mysteries, traveling, ideas, and comic books. On his opinion of New 52 Batman series: It’s more difficult than (James) Joyce! And Professor Eco’s explanation for the success of Casablanca remains the best I’ve yet read:

[B]y any strict critical standards… Casablanca is a very mediocre film [….]

[But] Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology. Made haphazardly, it probably made itself, if not actually against the will of its authors and actors, then at least beyond their control. And this is the reason it works, in spite of aesthetic theories and theories of film making. For in it there unfolds with almost telluric force the power of Narrative in its natural state, without Art intervening to discipline it [….]

When all the archetypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths. Two clichés make us laugh. A hundred clichés move us. For we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, and celebrating a reunion (Eco, Travels in Hyperreality).

And of course, I will also remember him for The Name of the Rose.

Harper Lee, 1926–2016

Harper Lee in 1961 by Donald Uhrbrock (Irish Times / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images)

Harper Lee has passed away in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Nelle Harper Lee was best known for her first novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird, that stands with The Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22 as the best American novels since World War 2, and its equally famous 1962 film adaptation. Lee’s childhood friendship with Truman Capote, a loosely veiled as Dill in Mockingbird, helped to yield another postwar American literary masterpiece, In Cold Blood. And despite her reclusiveness, Lee was honoured many times after the publication of Mockingbird, most notably with the US National Medal of Arts in 2010 and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

Bob Norris on “USAF Pilots vs USN Naval Aviators”

Young Man,

Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I’d be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself “Which one am I more likely to thrive in?”


Protected: [The Music] by Yukio Mishima – Ch.14 (An English Translation) (2,082 wrds.)

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