Melbourne and Mars, by Joseph Fraser

Some notes from Melbourne and Mars, by Joseph Fraser:

  1. You cannot go twenty miles in any direction without finding an electric fountain, free to the public, from which the accumulators of any travelling machine can be instantly recharged.

  2. …indeed, we have no wilful lawbreakers anywhere.

  3. We have no hunting of wild beasts; they have all been exterminated long ago. This extermination has extended to vermin and insect plagues, and even to some kinds of animalculæ. There is nothing that can bite, sting, or injure us in any way.

Mrs. Billickin sets her terms

‘Five-and-forty shillings per week by the month certain at the time of year,’ said Mrs. Billickin, ‘is only reasonable to both parties. It is not Bond Street nor yet St. James’s Palace; but it is not pretended that it is. Neither is it attempted to be denied — for why should it? — that the Archway leads to a mews. Mewses must exist. Respecting attendance; two is kep’, at liberal wages. Words has arisen as to tradesmen, but dirty shoes on fresh hearth- stoning was attributable, and no wish for a commission on your orders. Coals is either by the fire, or per the scuttle.’ She emphasised the prepositions as marking a subtle but immense difference. ‘Dogs is not viewed with favour. Besides litter, they gets stole, and sharing suspicions is apt to creep in, and unpleasantness takes place.’

—The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Chapter 22

The Rise of “Logical Punctuation”

…When I asked Feal and Carol Saller, who oversees the Chicago Manual of Style, if there was a chance their organizations would go over to the other side, they both replied, in essence: “How about never? Is never good for you?”…

The Rise of “Logical Punctuation”, Ben Yagoda, May 12 2011, Slate.

Point Counter Point, by Aldous Huxley

‘[…] The first step would be to make people live dualistically, in two compartments. In one compartment as industrialized workers, in the other as human beings. As idiots and machines for eight hours out of every twenty-four and real human beings for the rest.’

‘Don’t they do that already?’

‘Of course they don’t. They live as idiots and machines all the time, at work and in their leisure. Like idiots and machines, but imagining they’re living like civilized humans, even like gods. The first thing to do is to make them admit that they are idiots and machines during working hours. “Our civilization being what it is,” this is what you’ll have to say to them, “you’ve got to spend eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine. It’s very disagreeable, I know. It’s humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You’ve got to do it; otherwise the whole fabric of our world will fall to bits and we’ll all starve. Do the job, then, idiotically and mechanically; and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman, as the case may be. Don’t mix the two lives together; keep the bulkheads watertight between them. The genuine human life in your leisure hours is the real thing. The other’s just a dirty job that’s got to be done. And never forget that it is dirty and, except in so far as it keeps you fed and society intact, utterly unimportant, utterly irrelevant to the real human life. […]’

pp. 417-418. Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley. Chatto & Windus, London 1947.

By the Ionian Sea, by George Gissing

What slight clothing they wore became them perfectly, as is always the case with a costume well adapted to the natural life of its wearers. Their slow, patient effort speaks of immemorial usage, and it is in harmony with time itself.

— By the Ionian Sea, by George Gissing (PG ebook edition).

Just WALK!!

“In industrialized countries we live as if we have no legs. Yet, we always want to go somewhere and fast. Often we don’t live near where we work and we don’t work where we live. … Transport consumes large quantities of oil; it is a major source of air and noise pollution; it creates unbearable congestion — particularly in urban areas; it puts people’s health at risk; it causes global warming and it causes the death of both humans and animals. Yet, we are totally addicted to and dependent on the transportation of goods and people. It is hard to see a practical way out of this quagmire. However, if we could resort to our wisdom and rationality, there are solutions. To begin with, we can start walking.”

— Satish Kumar, from Resurgence Issue 197

Clouds Above The Grass

An afternoon of a book, a cafe, a friend, much good talking and only a little work done.

William Morris’ lectures on Art and Socialism from the last quarter of the 19th century kept me company in a juice bar in town this afternoon, but only for a short while before the noise got to me. Morris really does give me a lot to think about, almost all of it good or exciting; I find him attempting to answer many of the same questions that have come to me in recent years, and in a manner wholely fascinating and indeed often congruent with my way of thinking.

“To give people pleasure in the things they must perforce use, that is one great office of decoration; to give people pleasure in the things they must perforce make, that is the other use of it.
Does not our subject look important enought now? I say that without these arts, our rest would be vacant and uninteresting, out labour mere endurance, mere wearing away of body and mind.” — William Morris, The Lesser Arts, 1877.

This ‘decoration’, could it not also include something that one could term ‘decoration of activity’? Those non-functional things that one does when working such as enjoying the sound of a sharp handsaw as it cuts, or being in an attractive workshop. Or am I just a bit too tired to be thinking more about this?

The jamb that I picked up earlier I docked in two and would’ve started planing but had tea instead.