Saturday, March 29, 2003

neither a wit nor a flat Boynton went looking for her source of that archaic slang mentioned casually in a recent post, where to be a “flat” means the opposite of “wit”. She finally tracked it down in one of her most precious books, Physiognomical Chart by J.D. Simms, 1872. This is in the style of the great pseudo texts of the era, like this wonderful digital version. Comparisons to animal faces are commonly used to substantiate the theory that physicality reflects character. In Boynton’s book there is a scale of 1 to 10 of the disposition, and each has been scored by the reader, with further tables at the back, marked by the author, on October 11th 1882. Much like a web quiz, we get a profile of this Melbourne resident, who seems to have safely aimed for the middle on each “faculty”. Boynton’s father bought this book for her when she was a child, because of the pictures. (As a child, she drew compulsively) but now she loves it just as much for the words, the fabulous words that Word doesn’t recognise . For instance :
aquasorbitiveness – appreciation and love of water drinking…bathing etc
sonidiffusitiveness- the capacity of producing or making a sound or musical tone with the mouth
solicitusreputatutiveness – an innate wish for the favourable opinions of others
pyshiodelectatiousness – the disposition and inclination for sensual delights
factimemoriativeness- the factulty of retaining previously attained knowledge
characteriospicity – the power of penetrating and understanding the character of others
philomonotopicalness- the affection for one place, or, habit of becoming attached to one situation or locality
etc etc. The flat/wit reference comes under the category of salitiveness – "the power of seizing on thoughts and occurrences, and presenting them in a laughable manner" because if your score 6 on the scale you're informed:
" you can discern the difference between witticism and Atticism, and can enjoy the quick-witted whom you meet; yet you are neither a wit nor a flat."
If in 1882 you’d marked number 2 : You cannot make a pun, and of course, are very slow to comprehend one from another and even at number 5 you’d still be warned: "you had better avoid any attempt to pun, or play upon words, as your failures will excite more laughter than your hits.
For each extreme there is advice on how to be middling. Even though she doesn’t resemble the drawing of salitiveness large (Mark Twain) or even Merriness large (Sam Slick)Boynton will hereafter heed: "To restrain the talent and Appreciation of Mirth:- Cease from that perpetual giggling and laughing at every trifle, especially as it lowers you in the estimation of more grave characters; read metaphysical works and especially those of earnest reasoners, and enter fully into their spirit; choose sober, staid and dignified companions"
Better scout about the blogosphere to find more of the grave, the staid and the sober metaphysical company.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Boynton was half thinking of a haircut when she read this Elegy from Ovid: To his mistress, who, contrary to his counsel, dyed her hair with noxious compositions, and has nearly become bald. From The Love Books of Ovid (via Plep)
This man is pleased his wife chose the flip, so he didn't flip out, in the classic Caroline No hair-cut response.
The very long haired seven Sutherland sisters adopted this solution

Friday ususally sees boynton off to the op-shop thrifting, but today she has been arrested by a common cold. More than ordinary heartbreak, general sorrow or average despair, a common cold blocks the humour reflex. Nothing seems funny today. But were she to hop down to the op-shop, she'd keep an eye out for some thrift store art like those displayed at this seminal collection. (via Speckled Paint)
The site's collector/curator has "the "packrat" gene... that causes one to search for, acquire, collect, and accumulate the meaningless objects cast off by society" but space consraints forced him to specialise "I mean, really; how many kitschy 50's dish sets, "Incredibly Strange" albums, Pee Wee Herman dolls, old bowling trophies, or pulp-fiction paperbacks does one person need?" (Boynton has lost count of the number of old bowling, tennis and netball trophies she has "let go" - almost collected over the years) This is another site to return to in in April, when the download limits go. In the meantime she'll just sneak a look here and there.
(Boynton's cold head is so unsharp, blunt or "flat" as they used to describe those way down the nineteenth century wit-less scale, that it took her about 20 edits just to get this post looking reasonably normal. Light blogging ahead)

Thursday, March 27, 2003

The muse has returned. As Boynton was cycling up to CERES to meet some long lost friends, along the Merri creek, the new play was running through her head. (Is there some link between cycling and writing?) Ideas brewing.
At the café there was an apple on a plate, like a novel table decoration Very CERES observed x. (or Very Serious, as boynton heard it. Both work)
The last time boynton visited ceres was in the dead of winter, the coldest day of the year. So cold, that boynton and friend, after shivering over tea, had to hot foot it back to our bikes, to work up some warmth. Let’s get the hell out of here! he said.
Today was all autumnal splendour, or Autumn Joy, the flower we admired in the nursery.Riding back, climbing up to Clifton Hill, seeing the hazy city, it was all autumn joy, the beginning of a new cycle.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Today all the houses in Boynton's inner-city neighbourhood received an unsolicited red bound book with 143 pages of real estate. (Green it sure aint) Boynton knows this
sub-literary genre is fast gaining ground in publishing and the print media, and there is possibly a space for such a cultural tome on her overcrowded shelves. She'll gaze at the pictures of suburban villas like she gazes carless at the outer pages of the street directory, planning imaginary journeys. One thing she has already noted in both this booklet and others like it is the introduction of the black labrador as accessory in various locations. At first she thought the third such appearance was a noted interior object from the 1970's, and while these were about, it was definitely another labrador. Seems to be taking its place with the potted palm, pebbles, jarrah outdoor settings and tiger lillies as valuable selling feature this season. As she peruses these pages it occurs to boynton that, like a snail without her shell, all she has in this domain game is the ageing accessory.
There's something rather sinister about this dental site ( via J-walk) Clicking on a Tooth will remove it and clicking on a space will add a Tooth. Removing tooth by tooth is a bit too much stuff of nightmares territory. Not that boynton herself suffers from that particular recurring dream(just as well given Freud's take on it, we've always preferred the Jungian tack there anyway). But then because this not a blog of the confessional genre, boynton's not about to disclose her own running dream imagery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

A little upbeat music might be just the ticket. From Show and Tell - thrift store music and album cover art. (via B3ta). This fitness regime looks promising.
Car-less boynton took the Highway negative excitation syndrome (road rage) test (via the Presurfer) and got a spineless rating.
You are a softy
You are either really wet, or the personification of self control. You won’t complain in a restaurant when you (sic) food turns up 30 mins late. If someone cuts you up you can rise above it and continue on your way. This means you are in the safe category and unlikely to experience road rage, but maybe you do need to get a bit more of a backbone. Stand up for yourself, don’t let people push in front of you in the queue, Don’t let kids throw things at you, and don’t let people under cut you. No one likes a doormat. If you have no dents in your car when you return home, go out and get some, your car is an extension of your inner soul. Be Wreckless!
(The line that really leaps out there of course is the old "no one likes a doormat". Gee thanks. Like that's what your average doormat really wants to hear). Boynton's close to ordering her new personalized doormat with the text: anonymous.
Bluejoh links to the MOA foodfights/cheap jibes
boynton is a Sausage-Eating Peace Monkey with a Battle Rating of 3.2. Food-Eating Battle Monkeys! Battle!

Monday, March 24, 2003

Boynton was re-reading The Seagull when she observed her own attire.
MEDVEDENKO:Why do you always wear black?
MASHA:I am in mourning for life. I am unhappy
BOYNTON: I am in mourning for life. I am unhappy. I am from Melbourne. I have a black Labrador.
But is a glorious Autumn day here and gloom is impossible to sustain in such sparkling weather. Likewise, Dorothy Parker snaps you out of it. (links via the Writing Life)
Quotations, and poems (like Comment and Fighting Words)
And finally if any more glorious whimsy is needed to boot up boynton, she just found a wonderful gallery of the post SurRealism work of Julian Hill. Here are but two examples from the fake tate:
I am perfectly balanced now...and... Don’t leave me this way.(ascension)
This exhibition space was found via the fabulous portal Visual Escapes, the imaginative visual art collection. And this was yet another mighty link from Speckled Paint. Sadly, because of download limits, boynton has only been able to explore two exhibits from one artist from one room so far. Roll on April, when the new (unlimited) deal begins.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Think we can safely say it’s Autumn now. Even though last week saw days of total fire ban followed by warnings of possible snowfalls, that certain buoyant crispness is about. If the change of season is not so comprehensively announced by foliage here as in another hemisphere, perhaps we can consult this site on local signs The seasons are changing and nature is responding... (via Plep)
So March is the time of "flying fox karma sutra", upside down sex. Lately boynton has seen the maginficent bats flying north east on balmy outdoor trivia nights, flying like obvious but elusive clues, over the head.
Recently the Age reported on the latest round of anti-bat tactics from the Botanic Gardens, while this site documents the sad history of the fruitless campaign. The same bat story – disappearing habitat, and anthropocentric retaliatory response. Go bat.