This is my favorite bookstore, Hein & Co. bookstore in Jackson, California. Of course, there's Powell's in Portland, but I rarely get there. Hein & Co. Is the best browsing bookstore I've been to. Great selection, great prices, great cats.
Don Marquis is, alas, little rembered today. He was a newspaper columnist and humorist who wrote a series of poems supposedly authored by a cockroach named Archy, who banged out his work on a typewriter by leaping head first on the keys.
the lesson of the moth (1927)
i was talking to a moth the other evening he was trying to break into an electric light bulb and fry himself on the wires
why do you fellows pull this stunt i asked him because it is the conventional thing for moths or why if that had been an uncovered candle instead of an electric light bulb you would now be a small unsightly cinder have you no sense
plenty of it he answered but at times we get tired of using it we get bored with the routine and crave beauty and excitement fire is beautiful and we know that if we get too close it will kill us but what does that matter it is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while so we wad all our life up into one little roll and then we shoot the roll that is what life is for it is better to be a part of beauty for one instant and then cease to exist than to exist forever and never be a part of beauty our attitude toward life is come easy go easy we are like human beings used to be before theybecame too civilized to enjoy themselves
and before i could argue him out of his philosophy he went and immolated himself on a patent cigar lighter i do not agree with him myself i would rather have half the happiness and twice the longevity
but at the same time i wish there was something i wanted as badly as he wanted to fry himself
My friend Pagona passes along this great blog post of beautiful libraries in the world. Unbelievable. How could you everactually get any reading done in any of these? (I've tried reading in the Library of Congress Reading Room and found it virtually impossible.)
To claim, at a dead party, to have spotted a grackle, When in fact you haven’t of late, can do no harm. Your reputation for saying things of interest Will not be marred, if you hasten to other topics, Nor will the delicate web of human trust Be ruptured by that airy fabrication. Later, however, talking with toxic zest Of golf, or taxes, or the rest of it Where the beaked ladle plies the chuckling ice, You may enjoy a chill of severance, hearing Above your head the shrug of unreal wings. Not that the world is tiresome in itself: We know what boredom is: it is a dull Impatience or a fierce velleity, A champing wish, stalled by our lassitude To make or do. In the strict sense, of course, We invent nothing, merely bearing witness To what each morning brings again to light: Gold crosses, cornices, astonishment Of panes, the turbine-vent which natural law Spins on the grill-end of the diner’s roof, Then grass and grackles or, at the end of town In sheen-swept pastureland, the horse’s neck Clothed with its usual thunder, and the stones Beginning now to tug their shadows in And track the air with glitter. All these things Are there before us; there before we look Or fail to look; there to be seen or not By us, as by the bee’s twelve thousand eyes, According to our means and purposes. So too with strangeness not to be ignored, Total eclipse or snow upon the rose, And so with that more rare conception, nothing. What is it, after all, but something missed? It is the water of a dried-up well Gone to assail the cliffs of Labrador. There is what galled the arch-negator, sprung From Hell to probe with intellectual sight The cells and heavens of a given world Which he could take but as another prison: Small wonder that, pretending not to be, He drifted through the bar-like boles of Eden In a black mist low creeping, dragging down And darkening with moody self-absorption What, when he left it, lifted and, if seen From the sun’s vantage, seethed with vaulting hues. Closer to making than the deftest fraud Is seeing how the catbird’s tail was made To counterpoise, on the mock-orange spray, Its light, up-tilted spine; or, lighter still, How the shucked tunic of an onion, brushed To one side on a backlit chopping-board And rocked by trifling currents, prints and prints Its bright, ribbed shadow like a flapping sail. Odd that a thing is most itself when likened: The eye mists over, basil hints of clove, The river glazes toward the dam and spills To the drubbed rocks below its crashing cullet, And in the barnyard near the sawdust-pile Some great thing is tormented. Either it is A tarp torn loose and in the groaning wind Now puffed, now flattened, or a hip-shot beast Which tries again, and once again, to rise. What, though for pain there is no other word, Finds pleasure in the cruellest simile? It is something in us like the catbird’s song From neighbor bushes in the grey of morning That, harsh or sweet, and of its own accord, Proclaims its many kin. It is a chant Of the first springs, and it is tributary To the great lies told with the eyes half-shut That have the truth in view: the tale of Chiron Who, with sage head, wild heart, and planted hoof Instructed brute Achilles in the lyre, Or of the garden where we first mislaid Simplicity of wish and will, forgetting Out of what cognate splendor all things came To take their scattering names; and nonetheless That matter of a baggage-train surprised By a few Gascons in the Pyrenees— Which having worked three centuries and more In the dark caves of France, poured out at last The blood of Roland, who to Charles his king And to the dove that hatched the dovetailed world Was faithful unto death, and shamed the Devil.
How can we most effectively weaken property rights…? [F]raming property as bundles of rights and forewarning of limitations weakens perceptions of ownership and decreases resistance to subsequent restrictions…. The potential applications of this research to property theory are numerous. Legislators, judges, and regulatory agencies craft legal measures that respond to, or even capitalize on, strong, pre-existing frames of citizen-owners.
I recently spoke to the Federalist Society at Chapman University School of Law (my alma mater) on the subject of Lochner and of constitutional protections for economic liberty in general. I recorded the talk and you can listen to it here. (It's a big file and takes a while to download.)