RIP Alan Lothian The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607) attributed to Thomas Middleton

Proverbs 17:6b And the glory of children are their fathers.

וְתִפְאֶ֖רֶת בָּנִ֣ים אֲבוֹתָֽם׃

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RIP Alan Lothian The Death of Alan Lothian

The Kidnapping of Rose Reiss

Naïa by SAGReiss

Silkworms & Yellow Cocoons by SAGReiss

Rose Reiss &
                  Naïa by SAGReiss

Silkworms
                  by SAGReiss

Rose
                  Reiss & Naïa by SAGReiss

Silkworms by
                  SAGReiss


And now methinks I could even chide myself
For doting on her beauty, though her death
Shall be revenged after no common action.
Does the silkworm expend her yellow labors
For thee? for thee does she undo herself?
Are lordships sold to maintain ladyships
For the poor benefit of a bewitching minute?
Why does yon fellow falsify highways,
And put his life between the judge’s lips,
To refine such a thing? keeps horse and men
To beat their valors for her?
Surely we are all mad people, and they
Whom we think are, are not; we mistake those:
‘Tis we are mad in sense, they but in clothes.

Vindice &
              Gloriana

Cyril Tourneur [auteur de La Tragédie de l’Athée, à qui l’on attribuait La Tragédie du Vengeur à l’époque] naquit de l’union d’un dieu inconnu avec une prostituée. On trouve la preuve de son origine divine dans l’athéisme héroïque sous lequel il succomba. Sa mère lui transmit l’instinct de la révolution et de la luxure, la peur de la mort, le frémissement de la volupté et la haine des rois ; il tint de son père l’amour de se couronner, l’orgueil de régner, et la joie de créer ; tous deux lui donnèrent le goût de la nuit, de la lumière rouge et du sang. La date de sa naissance est ignorée ; mais il parut dans une journée noire, sous une année pestilentielle.

Marcel Schwob (1867-1905)

Cyril Tourneur [author of The Atheist’s Tragedy, to whom The Revenger’s Tragedy was attributed at the time] was born of the union of an unknown god with a prostitute. Proof of his divine origin may be found in the heroic atheism of which he died. His mother bequeathed him instincts for revolution and lechery, the fear of death, the thrill of lust and a hatred of kings; he got from his father a love of self-coronation, the pride to reign, and the joy of creation; both gave him a taste for the night, red lights, and blood. The date of his birth is unknown; but he appeared on a black day, in a year of the plague.

Translation by SAGReiss

“Students of John Webster, Cyril Tourneur, and John Ford, searching for guides to the best understanding and enjoyment of these playwrights, are liable to find themselves in the position of Webster's Flamineo who, when he looks up to heaven, confounds knowledge with knowledge. All three playwrights--despite their very different artistic temperaments and talents--shared an appetite for absolutes, extremes, and paradoxes. And, perhaps not coincidentally, the outstanding characteristic of the scholarly and critical literature about them is its tendency towards extreme statements and antithetical, or even paradoxical, positions. On the same library shelf, Ford the modernist is next to Ford the traditional moralist; Tourneur both is and is not the author of The Revenger's Tragedy, which is either the most cynical or the most thoroughly medieval play of the Jacobean era; and Webster is on the one hand a decadent melodramatist, on the other a deviser of experimental dramatic structures which body forth a new tragic, or absurd, vision. More radically still, their very raison d'être, on a shelf devoted to serious English dramatic literature, is now questioned, now affirmed.”

RIP Alan Lothian The Death of Alan Lothian

De: SAGReiss

Date: 8 avril 2014

Objet: Fred & Alan

Alan Lothian
                par SAGReiss

Je me suis reveille a deux heures du mat au lit. J'ai constate que je portais mon pyjama bleu. J'ai demande au chat (en anglais bien sur, mais je traduis pour ceux qui ignorent tout): "Dans quel etat suis-je rentre hier soir, et que bordel ai-ja mange?" Strophe n'a constate aucune anomalie, donc tout va bien. Je suis quand meme descendu a la cuisine. J'ai vue une petite boite de pizza, une flute de pain, ma bouteille de whisky, une bouteille de vin cevenole que j'ai eu la sagesse ou l'incapacite d'ouvrir dans l'etat de haute spiritualite ou je me trouvais hier soir apres l'apres-funerailles de Fred. Je trouve tres penibles les funerailles. C'est pas pour le mort. Quand Alan est mort, le 12 septembre 2010 trois heures apres qu'il m'a dit: "Bloody hell," et je l'ai quitte, je ne l'avais connu que depuis moins d'un an. Je ne pleurais pas pour lui. Je pleurais pour moi, pour Rose, pour Athene ma soeur, pour ceux que je ne connais pas. Vous etes des magistrats, donc sans ame. Vous ne pleurez pas. J'ai beaucoup pleure hier, et beaucoup bu, un quart de whisky au tombeau d'Alan, puis une quantite indecente de Ricard au Commerce, ou tout s'est tres bien passe dans la convivialite habituelle avec en prime la presence de la petite fille qui a casse la gueule a un gendarme & la seule Juive des Vans, qui a fait la comptabilite. J'ai paye un tres modeste dix euros l'Apero des Peres, mais j'ai offert plus. Philippe & Sylvie ont refuse, acceptant le principe que tout le monde a avoue a peu pres ce qu'il avait bu, sauf que certains n'avaient aucun argent. Aux Vans on n'est pas bassement materialiste. On accepte que meme les pauvres aiment se saouler la gueule. J'etais le premier a l'eglise hier. Une dame m'a tout de suite demande si j'etais celui qui devait chanter: "Je peux chanter. De Dieu, mais pas le votre." Elle m'a demande de lire un truc en hebreu, en pretandant que c'etait le nom de Dieu, ce qui n'est pas le cas, car il y avait cinq ou six lettres. C'etait en haut de l'eglise, donc difficile a lire. La douleur de Maria (BCC ci-dessus) etait ecrasante, sans parler de notre ami Fred qui etait dans une boite. (Je rebois un whisky la, ayant mange le reste de la pizza, pour me raffraichir la memoire. Est-ce que je travaille ce matin? Je ne le sais pas.) Tous les ivrognes & musiciens & voyoux & hippies des Vans sont venus aux funerailles de Fred, avec Maria & la famille. Il n'y a pas eu de messe, mais une lecture du Sermon sur le Mont de Mathieu, si je m'en souviens bien, ou le cure a lu: "Blessed are the repris de Justice, car ils vont enculer tout le monde." Je cite le texte orthodoxe, en grec ancien, bien sur. J'ai mis une heure a trouver la nouvelle pierre tombale d'Alan, car Mike (BCC ci-dessus), le con d'Anglais, & Dave (BCC ci-dessus), le frere d'Alan, m'ont pose un lapin. J'ai quand meme bu un coup avec mon ami. Je transcris le tres beau message:

Alan THOMAS LOTHIAN [Dave & moi nous sommes interroges pourquoi son deuxieme prenom est en majuscules, nous arretant sur l'hypothese que Dave etait saoul quand il l'a ecrit.]

Glasgow 1947 - Les Vans 2010

Homme de lettres

In my Father's house

Are many mansions [John 14:2]

Evidemment on ne peut pas faire beaucoup mieux que cela, meme si j'avais vote en septembre 2010 pour Proverbs 17:6b

And the glory of children are their fathers.

Fuck you all.

Scott, pere de Rose

From: SAGReiss

Date: 25 September 2010

Subject: Ecstasy of the Left-Handed Virgin

Whatever we think of Venus' face in the mirror, it does behoove us to look at pictures long & hard & often, to ask them questions, to observe them carefully. C the G's Virgin was called by her: "The Virgin: First Solo Orgasm," which lends itself to two interpretations, either her first orgasm was solo, or her nth orgasm was her first solo shot, which would tend to imply that she was not in fact a virgin, at least in the Occidental meaning of the term. Please remember that Nanat told me she regretted having lost her virginity alone, for the Orientals understand female virginity to be a part of the body, the hymen. In the East sodomy is abstention [abstinence]. I'm not sure how oral sex effects virginity in the West, nor if it does so in the same way for men & women, gay & straight. So many possibilities. Anyway, this morning I noticed that C the G's virgin is indisputably left-handed [or at least a switch-hitter]. Her right hand appears to be over her head beyond the left-hand frame of the image. Her left hand is in the cookie jar. Rose is of course left-handed [but right-footed], and C the G has become less right-handed since her drunken spill down the stairs on 15 August 2008, the day of the Virgin's Assumption, whence her Ecstasy in the new title I've given the painting. [The artist was always left-titted.] I'm sure C the G won't mind.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 23 September 2010

Subject: Blinded by the Light

Oops. Alan would have loved this, the experts & I making dumbass interpretations of a work of art because we weren't thinking of the science of optics. Some blogging wag has pointed out that (her eventual narcissism aside) Venus does NOT in fact appear to be looking at her own image in the glass. She seems to be looking at a virtual image of the artist, reflected to her at the same angle as her image is reflected to him. There is also some learned commentary about the size of her reflected face, which is apparently only realistic if we assume the artist is standing at a considerable distance, but I don't understand this, nor do I see why he couldn't be. But the painting is not necessarily realistic in this or the former matter. For, if we assume that Venus is indeed looking at the artist, and that we are looking from behind his shoulder, and thus through his eyes, and not hers, then why is the image in the mirror (and only in the mirror) blurred? Could he be blinded by the light of the face of a goddess? I think I still prefer the narcissism solution, and the underlying assumption that Diego didn't know (or care) much more about the science of optics than I do.

Diego Velázquez - La Venus del Espejo (1647-51)

Diego
                  Velázquez - La Venus del Espejo (1647-51)

From: SAGReiss

Date: 23 September 2010

Subject: Mary the Slasher

Velazquez' Venus del Espejo is my riff on Alan's idea. He could not have avoided the sex & love theme of the etymology, nor would he have wished to. "Transit of Venus" sounds like a euphemism for "orgasm". I know he had a good cinema culture (which I have not), but we seldom discussed it, nor the other visual arts. We are/were both men of letters, he of a more scientific & technological bent, I of a more artistic & musical bent. He enjoyed music, asking me to prove the worthiness of the internet by downloading Trevor Pinnock's Brandenburg Concerti, which I did, but by then it was too late. We shared similar politics, the extremely cynical left, but he knew far more history than I, indeed far more history than any man should know. He knew nothing of Judaism, although he thought he did. He wouldn't have recognized the names Rashi, Saadia Gaon, Judah Halevi, but where would Christians acquire such knowledge, unless they read my site, which he stubbornly refused to do. The following [from Wikipedia] is too good for editing. Alan would have loved it. She died on his fourteenth birthday:

Slashing the Rokeby Venus

Richardson's most famous act of defiance occurred in March 10, 1914 when she entered the National Gallery in London and slashed the Rokeby Venus with a chopper she smuggled into the gallery.

She wrote a brief statement explaining her actions to the WSPU which was immediately printed by the press: "I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history. Justice is an element of beauty as much as colour and outline on canvas. Mrs Pankhurst seeks to procure justice for womanhood, and for this she is being slowly murdered by a Government of Iscariot politicians. If there is an outcry against my deed, let every one remember that such an outcry is an hypocrisy so long as they allow the destruction of Mrs Pankhurst and other beautiful living women, and that until the public cease to countenance human destruction the stones cast against me for the destruction of this picture are each an evidence against them of artistic as well as moral and political humbug and hypocrisy."

As a Fascist

Richardson like a number of middle- and upper-class suffragettes turned to fascism. She became the head of the Women's section of the BUF. Two other prominent suffragette leaders to gain high office in the BUF were Norah Elam and Commander Mary Allen.

Later life

Richardson published her autobiography, Laugh a Defiance, in 1953. She died at her flat in Hastings on November 7, 1961.

Diego Velázquez - La Venus del Espejo (detail 1914)

Diego
                Velázquez - La Venus del Espejo (detail 1914)

Catherine Uccellatore - Ecstasy of the
                Left-Handed Virgin (2009)

Catherine Uccellatore - Ecstasy of the Left-Handed Virgin (2009)

[A blogger suggests artistic jealousy of a dead man or sexual jealousy of a painting may have played a role: "In court Mary Richardson added that she had been an art student, but that she cared more for justice than for art, and that she therefore saw her act as understandable, if not excusable. In an interview in 1952, nearly 40 years after the deed, Mary Richardson gave yet another reason for her action: "I didn't like the way men visitors gaped at it all day long."]

Ah, yes. Feminism, fascism, & vandalism. The good things in life go together. I'd like to read her book, or at least a page or two, but I can't find it online. So what do we think of our supine beauty? Much can't be said, as the deep mauve has apparently faded to gray (Rose has taken to calling me Gray & herself Violet. [The only reference I can find is to Violet Gray in Peanuts, and we do like the Charlie Brown Christmas, but I had no idea of her family name, so how would Rose?]), and she took seven blows to the back with a meat cleaver, although I can't make them out even in the high resolution image. The shape of her body is extremely beautiful, and she seems to be almost a redhead, not quite an iconographic hair color at the time. Of course her face is blurred, though none of the critics has anything interesting to say about that. I guess her features dissolved in her own narcissism. I notice mostly the blue & pink ribbons of Cupid. [One critic calls them "fetters", although the blue one looks to me like a sash, and the pink one perhaps like a cord to hang the looking glass.] They seem to stand out in the large monochrome spaces.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 22 September 2010

Subject: Sightings of Venus

Saturday night I found out what the book that Alan had wanted to write was, Sightings of Venus, although that's my title. I don't know if he had decided upon one yet. It was to be an historical novel (or perhaps straight non-fiction) depicting the arduous trips different people of different cultures at different times took to see Venus (the planet, or Aphrodite the goddess of love & beauty) from an optimal point of view, often I think in remote ocean waters. It reflects his interests, science, history, philosophy. I think this is what he was going to use to organize the work:

The Venusian orbit is slightly inclined relative to the Earth's orbit; thus, when the planet passes between the Earth and the Sun, it usually does not cross the face of the Sun. However, transits of Venus do occur when the planet's inferior conjunction coincides with its presence in the plane of the Earth's orbit. Transits of Venus occur in cycles of 243 years with the current pattern of transits being pairs of transits separated by eight years, at intervals of about 105.5 years or 121.5 years. The most recent transit was in June 2004; the next will be in June 2012. The preceding pair of transits occurred in December 1874 and December 1882; the following pair will occur in December 2117 and December 2125. Historically, transits of Venus were important, because they allowed astronomers to directly determine the size of the astronomical unit, and hence the size of the Solar System. Captain Cook's exploration of the east coast of Australia came after he had sailed to Tahiti in 1768 to observe a transit of Venus.

A long-standing mystery of Venus observations is the so-called Ashen light—an apparent weak illumination of the dark side of the planet, seen when the planet is in the crescent phase. The first claimed observation of ashen light was made as long ago as 1643, but the existence of the illumination has never been reliably confirmed. Observers have speculated that it may result from electrical activity in the Venusian atmosphere, but it may be illusory, resulting from the physiological effect of observing a very bright crescent-shaped object.

The Canadian poet Earle Birney once wrote of Malcolm Lowry: "Teetering on a rope of comic fancies, between grandeur and self-pity, between exultation in his own power and agonies of self-contempt, his whole life was a slow drowning in great lonely seas of alcohol and guilt. It was all one sea, and all his own. He sank in it a thousand times and struggled back up to reveal the creatures that swam round him under his glowing reefs and in his black abysses."

Alan was furious when I told him that Lowry suffered from having a very small penis: "Where the fuck did you get that?" "I read it on the internet, so it must be true." "Bugger all." We sometimes talked about his decision, odd on the surface of it, to come to Les Vans to live & die rather than Italy, where his son lives & where his grand-daughter was to be born [& whose language he spoke much better than French]. I don't think he himself knew exactly why he had come here. His brother was too busy this summer to take care of him much, but it worked out well. His whole family came three times, including the funeral, and he had plenty of friends to look after him. He wasn't alone for even one day in the last gruelling month of his life. From my own selfish point of view, I'm glad he came. Alan, we hardly knew ye... He would have hated that. He said the Y came about because Bill Caxton was a cheap English fuck who wouldn't be arsed to buy a twenty-seventh letter, the thorn.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 21 September 2010

Subject: Dave's New Elder Brother Rose

As we left supper Saturday night, Dave blearily asked me who would be his elder brother. On Sunday Rose said: "Last year [which is her way of saying yesterday] I told Dave I'll be his elder brother." I misunderstood, since I hadn't overheard this exchange: "That's very nice, sweetheart. I'll tell Dave." "No. I told him." Last night we all went out for a Last Supper at the Cabbage Leaf, where Pablo's father works. There was a brawl about the reservation. This family doesn't go anywhere unnoticed. I tried to be the voice of reason, knowing Regis & speaking French better than most. Tom was snarling about going somewhere the fuck else. Everyone's nerves have been worn raw. Death sucks. I still haven't returned to work, but I've got a lot of vacation time to make up. We worked it out & a fine dinner was had by all. I told Dave: "I didn't hear it, but Rose told me she told you she would be your elder brother." Dave didn't remember. Annick said: "You were drunk. I heard Rose say that."

From: SAGReiss

Date: 21 September 2010

Subject: Fw: Absence

Desole, je ne vais toujours pas bien. La douleur m'infligee par la mere de Rose, la perte d'un ami la semaine derniere, et les funerailles ce week-end, m'ont laisse un peu abattu. Je m'en remettrai.

A jeudi.

Gabriel

From: SAGReiss

Date: 20 september 2010

Subject: Absence

Desole. Je suis malade. Je reviens en principe demain.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 20 September 2010

Subject: Letter to a Dead Man

Alan,

I understand you are dead, but perhaps someone is still checking this account. I wasn't on your mailing list, but then again you weren't on mine. We corresponded privately, but you knew I was sending BCCs to my old literary friends, and publish everything online. That pissed you off no end, but it didn't stop you from writing, as you often & bitterly threatened to do, until you lost that ability sometime after 9 August. I've kept on writing, for that is all I know how to do. You often & bitterly cursed the internet, but you did so in e-mail. You were as addicted to it as we are. The texts I'm linking to may also piss someone off or ruffle a few feathers. Kafka knew that Max Brod would not burn his books, and you knew that I would write the tale of your death. Rose now understands that all of what I write is ultimately for her. [As I talked of our site  with Jerry, Rose smiled & interjected in English: "It's for me."] After I'm gone, it will be hers to do with as she likes, although I have suggested that our site be passed down as a family heirloom, with each generation creating new pages with links to older ones. It did her a world of good to hear so many different accents of English at your seemingly neverending funeral. She also grieved for you deeply. She gave you chestnuts as a last gift. We sang you Joe Hill, a song thoroughly in your spirit. Anyway, Kirsty/ie (Couldn't you have given your children names I could fucking spell?) or Tom will decide whether the family wishes to link to our site. Our texts are not easy-listening, but you were not an easy man, nor were you in the least afraid of hard books. The Jews sit shiva for seven days. I mourn by casting a white pall over my site. I have unveiled it today, but I'll leave white forever the page that gradually became yours, as my grief over Rose's kidnapping melted into my grief over your lingering death. Dave & Annick may have wondered why I didn't say good-bye to you at eight o'clock on the night you died. I've wondered about it too, and the only answer I can give is taken from the valediction of the last letter our friend John (Please keep your scarf on.) Keats wrote: "I can scarcely bid you good-bye, even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow. God bless you!"

Your friends,

Rose & SAGReiss

From: SAGReiss

Date: 20 September 2010

Subject: Conkers

I had been a little bit concerned about some of the language Rose was overhearing, but I justified it as strong language used in the expression of deep emotions at a time of great sorrow. It wasn't until yesterday evening, when I rejoined Alan's friends & family after dropping off Rose, that I realized how much everyone had in fact been restraining himself on account of her presence, for suddenly people were just screaming: "Shut the fuck up & eat your supper." The guy who was too drunk to attend supper after the funeral drunkenly explained to the bartender: "We're just a bunch of Englishmen mourning our departed English friend." I said: "You're the only fucking Englishman I see." Anne said: "The rest of us are mourning Alan, and he was a Scot. I don't know who the fuck you're mourning." [I launched into a learned discourse on the volume of a pint, a subject Alan & I had often debated. Anne said: "Look, I've just burried that bastard. Now don't you get fucking started." She told the tale of their no doubt sainted & long-suffering mother inadvertently quoting her husband: "You piss with the cock you've got," which I guess means in French: "péter plus haut que son cul," or in American: "Dance With the One Who Brung Me"] After a trip to the pig farm, Rose had wanted to drop by at Alan's again. I couldn't remember the words to Poor Jud Is Dead, so Rose just kept asking me to sing Joe Hill over & over again. We walked back to the graveyard with Alan's sister & two old friends. Rose gathered chestnuts on the way to put on the grave. The drunk & I discussed the difference between horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, some English shit he called conkers or something, marrons, & chataignes. Anne pulled a flask of whisky out of her purse. We all had a drink, and she poured the rest upon the dirt now covering the coffin. I still don't know if Rose's maternal grandfather is dead, but in ten years or so she'll likely only have her paternal grandmother left. This week-end will have been the beginning of her learning about death & how to cope with it. I don't think we did too badly. I've taken today off from work. At supper, after Rose was gone, we relived old memories of Alan & fresh memories of his funeral, Rose & Anne dancing the night away down the sidewalk in front of the hotel as I sang songs for them to dance to. I explained that I had tried to chase off the priest three times with yes or no answers to his pestering questions about Yom Kippur falling on shabbat etc. before finally telling him to fuck off. No one seemed to think this was too inappropriate. It wouldn't have been Alan's funeral without some misbehavior.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 20 September 2010

Subject: Une Pierre, Deux Coups

Hind,

Desole pour le retard, mais les funerailles ont dure deux jours. J'ai encore pris conges de deuil aujourd'hui, et je ne sais pas encore si j'y vais demain. Je crois qu'il n'y a eu qu'un incident entre les filles, mais Dennis & moi ete dehors sur la terasse, donc on ne l'a pas vu. Rose a du pousser Naia ou quelque chose. Elle a du prendre un bon coup, car Naia ne pleure pas pour rien. Je suis vraiment desole. Rose a dit que c'etait un accident, et s'est excusee, mais bon... On l'a grondee quand meme. Effectivement elles jouaient un peu trop fort dans la maison. Tiens-moi au courant si jamais Naia prefere qu'on fasse un break. Elles ont pourtant continue a jouer ensemble apres, et l'on a meme parle de revenir plus tard, si jamais les funerailles etaient trop dures pour Rose. Finalement on est reste, car c'etait important pour nous deux de faire nos adieux a notre ami. Bien sur que c'etait tres eprouvant, mais on ne peut pas proteger nos enfants de la mort. On ne peut que les aider a y faire face. On a beaucoup pleure notre ami defunt. Les deux evenements de cet ete, la lente mort de notre ami & le cruel kidnapping de Rose, se sont confondus dans mon esprit dans une grande douleur de manque. Je ne vais pas regretter l'ete epouvantable de 2010. Je pleure encore.

Scott

At 23:56 18-09-10, you wrote:

Coucou,

J'etais desolée de ne pas vous avoir croise cet apresmidi! J'espere que les funerailles n'ont pas ete un moment trop difficile pou Rose.

Je pense que la prochaine fois cela serait mieux si  vous veniez l'apres midi (genre a partir de 15h), car avec le marche on est un peu decalé, de plus avec Nans je fais de la natation et on sort de la piscine à 13h30 donc c'est un peu galere pour Denis de vous faire a manger et de s'occuper de ce genre de chose.

Naia m'a beaucoup parle de Rose et du fait que Rose n'avait pas ete tres gentille avec elle aujourd'hui. Elle etait contente d'avoir vu Rose et en meme temps elle ne voulait plus la voir c'etait assez etrange. J'espere que cela se passera mieux la prochaine fois!

allez, Bonne soirée!

Hind

From: SAGReiss

Date: 18 September 2010

Subject: Mignonne, allons voir si la rose

Rose has collapsed after a long fucking day. I'm still awake, if not quite alert. We had a piano lesson in Saint Paul at eleven. Sara suggested that Alan (whom she didn't know) is among the angels now. I demurred. Rose managed to transpose Do(e) a Deer into another key. She's also tried to play it on the black keys, but that's slightly more complicated. We went to Naia's farm afterwards. I made a tactical mistake, thinking that the funeral might be too hard or too long for her to bear, so I suggested we could come back, if she wanted to leave. I should have just left that idea in my mind. Rose had no problem with the funeral, but she did want to go back to Naia's. I had to refuse, which I don't usually do: "Alan was our friend. He is dead. We will never have another opportunity to say good-bye to him & all of his family. We can go see Naia in a fortnight." The service was good. I had alerted the family to the preacher's guitar playing, so they eliminated that ugly possibility. [Tom said: "If I see a guitar, I'll break it over his fucking head."] The service was bilingual (much too much French, as almost none of the mourners were of that persuasion) & ecumenical, as an English catholic Dominican monk (arguments about whether he is a poofter) presided. I later found out he is in fact a nephew of Alan's, whom I had told: "We [the Jews] would just like you [the Christians] to leave us the fuck alone." At a Scottish funeral, this is not even considered bad form. I love the Scottish people. The first victim occurred at half past seven. We'd only left the graveyard two hours earlier. He was just brought into Alan's bedroom (where Rose had just taken a nap) & put to sleep. Everyone else proceeded to the Cevennes Hotel for supper. It was wonderful. [Rose called it: "la fête triste d'Alan".] I met the bad witch (Alan's first wife) and congratulated her on her courage & wisdom in attending. Alan hated her, but he would have approved of her attendance. He didn't want to go out in bitterness. On the other hand Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 was invoked, a cliche that would have infuriated him. He would have approved of all the late-night drunken squabbling: his drunken sister insisting that he should not be incinerated in far off Ales [Anne told me that the city had at first refused to have him buried because he was not a property owner, then offered him a temporary place in the pauper's graveyard: "Fine. How temporary?" "Forty years." "I thought: 'Hell yeah. That's Noa's fucking problem.'" I said: "Right. Let them fucking call her in Australia in forty years and ask her to come pick up her grandfather. She'll just tell the French bastards to fuck off."]; my stubborn refusal [relenting later, of course, although I didn't hear Dave's message until after the funeral] to set foot in a heathen temple; everyone's objection to a religious service for an atheist, who had nevertheless taken comfort in the religion (and especially the texts) of his boyhood. Alan's brother & sister were both pretty visibly drunk when we left the restaurant, but the latter actually accompanied us home. We've been through a lot together, even if a lot of it was vicarious. I have probably spent more time with Alan in the past six months than anyone else. She told me she & Dave were going to get seriously drunk afterwards. I guess the Scots have a special definition of drunkenness. There were of course fights about the presence of Rose (& four-month-old Noa), and my way of describing events to her. Alan's son Tom & I agreed: "Tell her the fucking truth." Alan is no more. What remains of him is not really Alan, but it's in a fucking box that we're going to bury. The family threw flowers on the box. Rose asked if she could too. Fortunately she had collected a couple of chestnuts on the way from the round temple to the cemetery: "You can throw your chestnuts on his coffin." Those of you who can't read French can at least appreciate the last word of the first verse of Ronsard's poem below, which was read at Alan's funeral. In English poetry we call this mutability. In plain language we call this death:

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu ceste vesprée
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.

Las ! voyez comme en peu d'espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautez laissé cheoir !
Ô vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu'une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !

Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme à ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté.

Pierre Ronsard

Sweetheart, let us see if the Rose
That did this morning bloom,
Her purple robe in the sun,
Has not lost her vespers,
The folds of her purple robe,
And her Rosy complexion.

Alas! you see how little time,
Sweetheart, she has to live.
Alas! alas, her beauty left to die!
Oh truly, stepmother Nature,
For such a flower wilts
From morning unto night!

So, if you heed me, Sweetheart,
As your age blossoms
In its green novelty,
Gather, gather your youth:
For old age wilts this flower
As it shall your beauty.

SAGReiss

Funeral Hymn Book
                (18 September 2010)

Abide with
                  Me, H.F. Lyte & W.H. Monk (1847/1861)

David &
          Anne Lothian

From: Alan

Date: (This message has not been sent.)

Subject: Parting Company: goodbye and good luck

Good day, everyone.

If you are reading this it is because I am dead, to put it bluntly. Lung cancer, much deserved, what with all the millions of fags I have smoked. No mourning, please: raise a glass and think of good times. We're all hanging around in the same station, where the line only goes in one direction, and a lot of good people have caught an earlier train than I did.

I'm writing this so you know I haven't just disappeared from the Net: I have very thoroughly disappeared, I know not where, so there's not much point in replying to this email address. My brother will add a few lines, with details obviously unknown to me at the time of writing. Not much more to say, really. The bell ringeth. I must depart.

love and fond memories

over and out

Alan

From: SAGReiss

Date: 13 September 2010

Subject: Our Last Squabble

The hospital called me in the late afternoon to tell me the end was neigh: "I'll be there in five minutes." I don't know how they got my number, maybe I gave it to them, maybe they got it off Alan's iphone, maybe they just looked in the white pages. I called Dave from the room. He said he'd be there in an hour. They were in Nimes. Alan woke up considerably when his bro arrived. We called his son & his daughter, and Alan told them he was dying. I left at eight. Dave's wife left me a message at eleven that he was gone. I went to Marie's this morning, as I doubted anyone would think to inform her. She blamed me for not calling her last night. I didn't mention that Alan had asked me not to. Let death be our last squabble. There may be a row about funeral arrangements: "I don't know if Dave will want to be bothered with the Temple." "That's what Alan would have wanted." "Alan's dead."

Annick

From: SAGReiss

Date: 12 September 2010

Subject: Oh My Black Soul

Went to the Round Temple, which it turns out is called the Reformed Evangelical Church of Saint John of Maruejols & Avejan. They've got a site (with ads), but nothing of interest. My pic of the horses looks better than theirs. Inside it's ugly whitewashed roundness and of course miked up when Rose could easily project her voice in the tiny space. The new pastor plays the guitar. It's as horrible as it sounds. Except in the Near East, no one seems to have understood that the more they dumb down their religions, the emptier the pews will be. A newage, feelgood, Hallmark-greeting-card religion set to shameful attempts at popular music will be about as meaningful to people's lives as Hallmark greeting cards. I had to sit through half an hour of the service. At least the preacher is a seasoned public speaker. Why is it that lawyers can't seem to learn what priests, politicians, & talk-show hosts do? After the Eucharist thing (I didn't think to ask if Rose would be allowed to participate.) the pastor walked right up to me and we shook hands. I told him I came on behalf of a dying man: "Monsieur Lothian?" "Yes." Someone had already got to him, so he had visited Alan on Thursday, but I encouraged him to return soon, while it's still time. The nurses don't know how long he can drag it out. It does seem sad. Chemotherapy is bullshit. If they can't operate, and radiation don't work, just go home & die in sin while you're still able to. I read him some of Donne's sonnets, Batter my heart, Death, be not proud, Spit in my face, you Jews, O, my black soul, I am a little world made cunningly. I sang Auld Lang Syne in a broken tenor. I won't bring Rose back unless she really insists. There's no one left to see.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 11 September 2010

Subject: Bloody Hell

I told Alan a possibly apocryphal anecdote about Victor Hugo, author of the great Note Dame de Paris & a lot of bad poetry. Only the French think it's poetry, because they don't read English, German, Russian (I assume.), or ancient Greek poetry. They might read Latin poetry, but that isn't very good either. Anyway, Hugo wrote long & a lot, so one night at a dinner party the younger poets were complaining about his ongoing dominance of the literary scene: "J'aurai bientôt fini d'encombrer l'horizon," a fine Alexandrine, if you go for that kind of thing: 2/2/2||3/3. Like Pope, he lisped in numbers. It's hard to watch Alan for any length of time now. He's barely in control of either mind or body, wracked in pain, wasting away. He'll die of hunger or despair before Tina the Tumor can kill him. I don't think I'll have to make a decision about whether to let Rose see him again. I don't think he'll last the week. Maybe we can sing Amazing Grace for him in the Round Temple. As annoying as Judaism can be, it's good that so many rules apply to hard times like birth & marriage & death. It's comforting to know what one is expected to do. It eases the burden of decision making at times when one can't really make smart decisions. And I'll never forget that even my uncle Nicky, who is a maniacally religious little prick, gave comfort to my grandmother (no relation of his) when she had suddenly lost her husband. He didn't seem to care that no one was obeying all of the 613 laws.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
    a life of joy and peace.

"Bloody hell," murmured Alan. "Yes, my friend. You aren't far from bloody hell."

From: SAGReiss

Date: 10 September 2010

Subject: Going Home

"He would be better off dead." Harsh words, but this is a man (Alex, husband of Greer the pottery lady) who sailed to Viet Nam (not Byzantium) as a boy, got doused with Napalm, decades later had twenty cancerous lymph nodes removed from his neck, which I don't really understand (although Joy might) but it can't be a good thing. In Nam I guess people had to make decisions like that on a minute-by-minute basis: "He's too far gone. Fuck him. Give him a flag, and put him in a box." Alan is going fast. His mind is in and out, mostly in but deeply fatigued. His body is more eroded than present, even if he's only lost ten or fifteen kilos. I managed to get him connected to the internet, and showed him the pictures of Rose's Birthday Bash to cheer him up. That'll boost my hit count. I'll go back tomorrow, for we couldn't figure out how to charge his iphone. I'll take it to the Macintosh shop. His brother Dave will be back on Sunday. His son has left, but I guess his daughter might be coming back. How many trips can they make? I asked him if there was anything he wanted before he dies, as there is little doubt in anyone's mind that that's soon to pass. He couldn't think of anything, except going home, which is now impossible.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 6 September 2010

Subject: We are Seven

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

Rose descends on one side of her family from Jewish peasants who walked out of Europe with fake passports & without shoes. She has already seen a lot of sorrow. She is not weak. No one shall be sheltered from death. We live (or pretend to live) in an antiseptic environment. It is a lie, mendacity, as Big Daddy would say. Alan taught us (all of us) a more beautiful version of "Round & round the mulberry bush". He was a good friend to us for too short a time. Two hundred years ago, when Bill Wordsworth wrote the verses above, children knew death intimately. They watched most of their brothers & sisters die of horrible, lingering diseases in the next room, if not in the same room. They saw their parents slaughter the animals they were to eat, if they were lucky enough to eat meat. Jewish children do not read bowdlerized versions of the Bible, which is a book full of death, a book written essentially to represent life, and to come to terms with death. Most of our friends' parents, Madeline mother of Clovis, Father of Sam, Hind & Dennis parents of Naia, Jean father of Marie, Julia & Cliff parents of Archie, do not talk down to their children. Deictics or shifters (& look it up, if you don't know what the fucking word means) need to be learned. They are the hardest words in any language. We don't need dumbed-down shit here. When Alan dies, we'll listen to Mozart's Requiem played, not on a synthesized xylophone, but by a symphony orchestra. Rose & I will sing it, in Latin. I will try to convince her mother to allow her to attend the funeral in the round Temple. Death, be not proud, motherfucker.

At 11:06 6-09-10, you wrote:

I am very sorry about your friend Alan dying. It must have been hard for Rose to see him that way.

I try to imagine how my brother Isaac is reacting to his wife Betty dying of the same disease. They have given up on all the therapies, radiation, Chemotherapy and Biological therapies; they seem to be more harmful that helpful; Isaac is just waiting for her to die. He hired a caregiver to live in their house. I have no idea what to say to him when I call him

Dad

From: SAGReiss

Date: 5 September 2010

Subject: Adieu, Alan, Adieu

Oh, & I forgot. I know I'm spamming you, motherfuckers, but a man is dying, and we are not insensitive to this fact. Rose, who apparently has her priorities straight, took her piano lesson, where she was too tired (She rose me at six this morning after a long day.) to do much, but we still got through Do(e) a Deer a few times, Old Macdonald's Farm once, Jingle Bells sort of, and some good play time. We ate the leftover falafel & meatballs with green beans, tomatoes, olives, & onions, as I drank the white wine, with goat cheese, bananas, & leftover birthday cake for dessert. Next I thought a nap might be appropriate (for both of us), but she wanted to hunt down Sam & find out why he hadn't attended her Birthday Bash, so I said OK, with little hope of finding them, since they're usually sleeping. I suggested afterwards a visit to the park, where Clemence might be, or a stop by Alan's at the local hospital, which is really a retirement home. She chose Alan's first, so I began to explain that he is very ill, dying. She said she didn't want him to die. I agreed. When we got to room 233 he was more or less sleeping. He stirred when we whispered. Rose asked me if this was Alan: "This is the little that remains of him." He was gracious enough to make sure his body was covered, but there was no way to cover the bruises all over his arms from the massive IVs he's had, nor the emaciated state of his body. He couldn't talk, except in a whisper, not incoherent, but defeated. He was more fun when he was incoherent. We went to see the nurses. I noted that he had gone very far down since his arrival on Thursday. The nurse bent down to Rose's level & suggested she might ask him to eat. When we got back to the room, Rose needed no encouragement about what language to speak: "Are you hungry, Alan?" He said something I couldn't discern. Weeping, I read Proverbs 17 from the lovely leather King James his drunken sister had left him. Rose was a little disturbed to see me crying. I usually cry when she is not here. I stopped at 17:6 to ask her to listen. When we were done, I grabbed his hand, and told him to hang on as long as he could. I don't really know if it's better to go out gently or raging. He mumbled something in Italian: "Sxxx bene," which I suggested to Rose might mean "farewell" or "good-bye". A closer translation would probably be: "Adieu."

From: SAGReiss

Date: 21 August 2010

Subject: The Breakdown of Consciousness

To change the subject a little I asked Alan if he had ever read The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. He said he had, so I countered with an argument recently made by some American philosopher called Dan or Dennis or something and possibly teaching at Dartmouth, adding a few improvisations of my own. A conventional computer is a serial processor that gives the impression of performing parallel processing. Could the mind not be a parallel processor that gives the impression (consciousness) of performing serial processing? The mind receives huge amounts of information (primarily from the five senses) & processes it simultaneously, but it also filters the results & weaves them into a sequential narrative, essentially a first person singular autobiographical novel, more or less fictional depending on the person. It need not necessarily be so simple. In the case of religious experience, the narrative may be part first person singular, part second person singular, since God says: "Thou". In the case of severe personality disorder there may be more than one human narrator, as in Hitchcock's Psycho. Anyway our friendly neighborhood psycho (Alan, not C the G, who could hardly be described as friendly, and whom I would describe as a sociopath) has calmed down, but continues to suffer hallucinations, which at least he recognizes as such. He still won't eat, and dozed off during our visit. I recharged his iphone and drove home.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 18 August 2010

Subject: MRI am hungry!

This is your mind deprived of oxygen. Signifier sans signified. I could hear the charm, the loquacious eloquence, the historical & literary allusions in three languages, but the long perorations made no sense at all, unlovely jibberish. Alan had simply lost control of his mind. I asked him if he realized he was incoherent, and he said he did, but could do nothing about it. [He recognized my allusion to Sam "Bam" Johnson's sickbed lucidity.] I went to get a nurse. They were eating lunch: "Bon appetit. You may not be aware of this, but the gentleman in 305 is a man of vast erudition who speaks three languages, and he is utterly incoherent." "We know." "And this doesn't worry you?" They told me to talk to the doc[tor]. I repeated the same speech to the doc. She told me that's why a brain scan had been scheduled, but here comes this nurse's aide saying he doesn't want to take him to the radiology because he was raving. (One has to remain still for a couple of minutes.) Tense negotiations ensued. The doctor suggested I tag along to calm him down, so the scan was happily performed. He isn't eating. [He recognized my allusion to Bartleby: "lives without dining".] He looks like a skeleton. I think he's a goner.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 9 August 2010

Subject: The Glory of Children

Mr P seems adept at the rhetorical device the French know as antithesis. It's of course more fun when, as often in these verses, there is little or no semantic relation between the parallel propositions, in Hebrew separated by a physical caesura. Followers of your faith are more fond of the syllogism, which they borrowed from the Greeks, stealing teleology from the Jews in order to turn the so-called Old Testament into a prequel to the tale of Joshua, as I mentioned to you yesterday. In any case, one can basically do the same thing with a syllogism, by making the minor unrelated to the major, and dispensing with the conclusion altogether, in order to create what Joy's husband thing (with respect to Bill Blake & our friend Job) recently called "lovely jibberish [sic]" in a particularly happy phrase. In any case, I'll take a cup of 17:6 "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Now everyone seems to translate the second proposition in the plural, by association perhaps with the complement "children"  [or the predicate "fathers"] rather than in agreement with the subject "glory". In Hebrew this would not matter, since the copula is suppressed in the present indicative. However, as it turns out, In this phrase all of the words are plural, the text reading more literally: "and glories [or beauties or honors] children [or sons] fathers". [Glory, by the way, being the fifth sphere of the ten on the cabalalistic tree of life.]

At 07:43 9-08-10, you wrote:

On 7 Aug 2010, at 10:22, Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss wrote:

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Indeed they do. It is not generally understood that the Proverbial writer was in fact describing to his client base his new and very subtle sort algorithm. They told him it would never catch on, to which the Proverbialist merely pointed to III; 13. Been there, done that. It all boils down to T-shirt slogan philosophy,as Mr P makes sadly clear in XIV throughout but especially v.33. It was this manner of thinking that led to the need for a new sort algorithm in the first place.

Thanks for the words of wisdom, if not solace, bro.

Solace is not so easily to be had. With XVII;7, itself a sign of bitter but increasing urgency, Mr P at last gave up. As the ink in his porcupine-quill (are such kosher? Hmmm. If you don't chew the quill?) dried into a forlorn black powder in the heat of the Judaean Wilderness, there was little to add. Time for Mr P to hie him down to the Dead Sea and a few cold ones with his old mates.

It is, as the ground-breaking and somewhat surprising collaboration between de Lisle, Grossneck and Snickersaltz (Würzburg, 1923 op. cit.) has made deafeningly clear, unwise to rely too much on the Proverbialist's apparent sequentialism. Merely because in the vitiated mss that have survived, stained with cold ones as may be, the need for that new sort algorithm becomes abundantly clear. The dreadful ad hominem arguments put about by Snickersaltz's enemies, of whom there were, alas, many, should of course be ignored as a shame and embarrassment to the great public structure of Occidental learned discourse which is only very rarely used as a "facility" in downtown Istanbul. I discuss this myself in one of my many monographs; if the Emperor Alexius could only see it now, eh? (Let it never be said that post-biblical scholars lack a sense of the fitness of things.) Besides, none of Snickerstaltz's detractors had the slightest experience of Turkish tramboys; had it been otherwise, the lad known only to history as Yusuf might have led them, and not that fine German scholar, to the long-lost Tomb of the Scorpion. Which was of course never a tomb, and with no proven associations with.... what sort of jacket is it that has the sleeves tied together at the front? My dear sir, there's no need arf arf splutter

<NO CARRIER>

<KEYBOARD NO LONGER FUNCTIONAL. PRESS F2 TO CONTINUE>

From: SAGReiss

Date: 31 July 2010

Subject: Re: How goes it?

Sorry, man. The powers that be bow down to my wife that was, and in her infinite wisdom (or else out of fear of another visit from the local gendarmes) she deigned to bequeath me my daughter on 23 July. Since then my father will tell you that he can't keep up with me, and I can't keep up with her. We've been swimming, climbing trees, running the cobblestone streets, terrorizing the shopkeepers, & eating lots of picnics. I wanted to call you, but couldn't seem to find the time. Today we had a piano lesson, lunch at the pig farm, then a swim in the river. Tomorrow we're off to an arts & crafts festival, if I can only find the mysterious village where Greer & Alex invited us. Rose leaves us on Monday, my father on Tuesday. The judge's verdict falls on Friday. I will drive to the courthouse to pick it up, then pick up Rose again, if so wish the gods. One way or another, things will be back to normal next week-end, so we can meet up on Saturday, if you are feeling ambulant. I wonder how the neighboring madman chose his words.

At 18:25 31-07-10, you wrote:

With things nasty? Ou sont les antans de femme, eh?  Or riddle me ree.

I'd hoped to see you around this weekend (Lyons wouldn't let  me out last weekend, due to infections etc etc and other etceteras; wouldn't even let me stay in nice "hotel" but whisked me, drip-fed, to hospital chambre which I had to share with an authentic madman. An expression I do not use lightly.

They let me out this weekend, though. I got back aux Vans to find tidal wave of family (basically the Italy mob) on converging course; coming week Monday-Friday is last of current course. Family departs Monday although Kirsty's long swinging orbit brings her back here fairly soon.

May or may not see you around tomorrow; if not, then from following Friday afternoon. Barring unforeseen nasties, I will return here late lunchtime 6 Aug. Suffering from post-chemo exhaustion but hoffentlich no worse. However, I do tend to fall asleep very easily.

Of maladies, enough.

albest

Alan

From: SAGReiss

Date: 16 July 2010

Subject: Truth & Beauty

If you are the least interested in trying to understand, rather than to condemn out of aggressive philistine ignorance, you might take a look at this simple, but poignant, example of how we have been working for the past fifteen years. One person's innocuous comment on Facebook leads to the remembrance of a forgotten poem, which is then rewritten to fit current circumstances ("context"), which leads to the discovery of an unknown image & piece of music, and the memory (as I wrote the date) of C the G's birthday. If you do not find this beautiful, then I think you are too old, too ill, &/or too uneducated to recognize truth & beauty.

The SICK ROSE

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible Worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson Joy:
And her dark secret hatred
Does thy life destroy.

William
                  Blake, The Sick Rose (1794)

William Blake, Songs of Experience (1794)

15 July 2010

Joy: is disappointed in the appalling shallow (mis)interpretation of William Blake @ Wikipedia. Context may, in fact, be important. *sigh*

Jason: Just checked it. Agreed.

Roby: You know you can fix that if you want to.

Joy: Yeah, we did, a little. Considering it a work in progress, but a daunting task nonetheless.

SAGReiss: Bill Blake, the poet? This guy: "Tyger Tyger, burning bright,/In the forests of the night:/What immortal hand or eye,/Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"

16 July 2010 (Happy birthday, Sweetheart.)

Joy: You could always check out the entry and find out.

SAGReiss: Indeed I did before I answered. I don't see what's bothering you, although I must admit I didn't read every word of the long article, nor is this the poet I know best. Could you give us a hint?

From: SAGReiss

Date: 16 July 2010

Subject: The Sick Rose

Joy scolded me again today on Facebook, basically telling me to RTFM. I'm happy to be chided, especially when (as in this case) the upshot is a new song, two new songs actually, one forgotten, one never heard, The Sick Rose by Bill Blake & Ben Britten (still downloading), which comes to me with a new meaning born of a change in context. You'll find the songs (text reworked for the occasion, music, & illustration) on The Revenger's Tragedy page in a few hours, depending on download speed. I love BitTorrent.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 14 July 2010

Subject: Pascal's Wager

Our friend Pascal had, as you know, a mind few have ever been in a position not to envy, yet here he is performing simple risk analysis. Think of it this way, you might, on the one hand, have sniffed out an overwrought internet wanker who holds too high an opinion of himself, which is probably the same conclusion a billion other anglophones would come to if they read my "blog", as some are wont to call it. On the other hand, you may, in your dotage, have by a host of happenstance stumbled upon the future of English literature, something a man who plays Wagner for money recently called: "combining music, literature, and inceste into a perverse and glorious Gesamtkunstwerk". Yes, we have soaring ambitions, and why shouldn't we? Please remember that one poofter, Gide (not to name the guilty party), made a fool of himself forever when he couldn't be bothered ("arsed", as you would say) to sift through fifty pages of another poofter's whining about his mother's kiss. It's not like you haven't got the time or the education to read what half a dozen men & women of similar erudition have been working on for fifteen years. It would be odd to the point of impossibility that the internet, the most Promethean invention in information technology since the printing press, democratizing writing as the latter democratized reading, would not create new genres of literature, as Gutenberg's baby killed the illuminated manuscript, while giving birth to and ultimately promoting the novel over poetry & theater. Rose will find it odd that we in the twentieth century actually read books without images, without music, in a sequential, linear format of paper pages glued together that wouldn't even let us click around and read in whatever order we wished. She will not understand why books had only one author, one language, why they were closed, written in stone as it were & inhospitable to updates. It will seem as natural to her to write on our pages as it was for Natalie Cole to sing with her [dead] father thirty years after he sang "Unforgettable".

From: SAGReiss

Date: 13 July 2010

Subject: Re: Pedagogy & the Effet de Reel

Insolence, arrogance, and bad manners, well, I have never claimed the contrary. I am an educated American Jew, and that will have to do. As you know (or at least I've told you so), I befriended you on my father's behalf, and have helped you because you were in need of help. I need, nor want, nor have, nor have ever had, any friends. They seem superfluous to me. Sybille Bedford is indeed a good writer, although some of her words (placement of adverbs & such) make me wonder (although that's not necessarily a bad thing), but she has the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl. I don't care where she spent her endless vacations. I have no interest in her spiteful back-stabbings of old friends. I think she had what you accused Proust of having, poofter-disease. You are an educated drinking buddy, which seems about right to me. On the contrary you should be honored to be vaguely associated with the members of my World, who are quite transparent on the page of that name, if you would be so kind as to take a look. They are one or another better writers, better mathematicians, & all better musicians than you. I hope you do not die without having written the books you think you could have written. I know I will not do so. I have already done it. That you do not understand is your problem. I guess you're back in Les Vans. Let's meet for lunch tomorrow. My whole family is here, except the hostess with the mostest, Rose, who I hope will bless us with her divine presence in the Christian month of August. Otherwise, fuck you too, bro.

At 20:34 13-07-10, you wrote:

On 12 Jul 2010, at 16:29, Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss wrote:

Here's the printable version in case you get bored.

I am not bored, Scott. I am simply disgusted. There are limits to what may be achieved by insolence, arrogance and sheer bad manners and you have reached and exceeded all these limits. I have no, rpt no, interest in a "printable version", whatever that may mean.

I am particularly pissed off by your use of your hidden audience, always concealed beyond what passes for your "footlights". I suppose this darked-out mutual masturbation society must exist, but I may be under-rating your powers of invention.

I leave your spew of ill-thought, posturing vanity -- a vanity that might be awe-inspiring were it not constructed on the worst sort of electronic clay; as it is, it is merely vanity at once grossly self- serving and grossly un-self-observing -- to be its own delight to you in these hours of need.

One more email like that, though, and my system goes to auto, which is probably what I should have done anyway. This is no time to be losing friends but by God you know how to work at it. You are, as the saying goes, "losing it", and losing it "big time." It might be a good idea to stop.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 12 July 2010

Subject: Pedagogy & the Effet de Reel

At lunch with Alan I was explaining the "effet de reel", with which he wasn't familiar, and it occurred to me that it isn't merely an artistic tool, but also a pedagogical one. The written word, fiction or non-fiction, you know I couldn't care less about that distinction without a difference, never conveys any reality. It never hits any of our senses (unless we're blind) except sight, indeed making the most limited use possible of that apparatus. Yet it may, in the hands of a skilled artist who is so inclined, seem real, give the appearance of reality, affect our mind's eye, ear, nose, mouth, & touch. Reality, on the other hand, is in some sense real. It does affect our senses (almost) directly, causing pleasure or more often pain. Yet this same real reality also appears real, most of the time at least. And as I present this reality to Rose, last month & I hope next month, I seek to find the effet de reel in our daily life, the detail (color, sound, correspondence) that makes this particular reality seem real, makes it particular, makes it memorable. Alan is, as is my family, brain-dead to this endeavor that we have been working on for the past fifteen years. It's one thing to use the internet, which they all do. It's another to understand the theoretical implications of it. As I explained, our site is a dialogue, between us for the moment, but with plenty of unpredictable metadata, such as the court documents that may pop up in the near future. Moreover, it will someday become, in twenty years or so, when I (if I am still alive) or one of you hand over the password to Rose, a family dialogue between her & her father, as she reacts to what I've written, corrects my mistakes, completes my thoughts [adds her own, creates new pages, respects or revolts against the color scheme, in short makes it her own]. Twenty years after that, if she has children, she can in turn pass it on to them, and this will become our family heirloom, our interactive, polyglot, history, the autobiography of our World.

The Kidnapping of Rose Reiss

From: SAGReiss

Date: 6 July 2010

Subject: Street Theater with Polices

The three girls (Deborah, Lucie, & a wench I don't know) by turns wailed & screamed. Well, at first they just told the pigs they didn't know where Rose & her mother were. But when three cops ask to enter the house & take a look around, sometimes people change their minds, which is what happened in this case. C the G was back in a flash, and the wild rumpus started. She raged, screamed, wept, swore, smoked, while I just smoked silently, keeping a safe distance. There were moments it looked as if a physical confrontation with one of the Gendarmes was not far [off]. When she went inside, they watched the back door. In short, she refused, and refuses, to give me my daughter. I have to admit I was expecting something like this. The lady Gendarme, who didn't accompany us, had hinted that she might just not open the door, but that's not her style. She was in her street-theater glory as neighbors stopped by, even the forgotten drunken undertaker, who is not unknown to the forces of order. After an hour and a half of this loud madness, everyone was immediately convoked to the Gendarmerie of Largentiere. I had to go get my Israeli passport first, which turns out to be expired since 2006. By the time I got there, the cops had gone away to a traffic accident, something C the G oddly said she knew about. For, at this time, we found ourselves alone together in this tiny waiting room. We could smell each other. I have to admit, she was in good form, and was about to hit her second wind, after our down time together. The only thing is I would have preferred a bathing suit for comic effect, rather than having to look at her undies bunch up her ass under the clingy white shorts for the second straight day. Her hair is beautiful. Her tits are larger. Altogether, still a good fuck, as I told her on the night of 2-3 July 2007. They called her in for an interview first, and I could hear her screaming, then surprisingly the cop screaming back, her weeping... Then they called me in. I just told the same story again, answered a few questions about her bizarre allegations, which will be dealt with in front of the judge on 22 July, and had no choice but to leave with little hope of seeing Rose before 2 August or some faraway week-end in September. As I told the cop who interviewed me: "Assuming everything goes my way, which might be expected after today's circus, I'll be right back here on 2 August asking you once again to enforce the law. The new decision will be no more legally binding than the current one."

From: SAGReiss

Date: 5 july 2010

Subject: No Solace for the Damned

Gratiana: Are you so barbarous to set iron nipples
Upon the breast that gave you suck?

Vindici: That breast
Is turned to quarled poison.

Gratiana: Cut not your days for't: am not I your mother?

Vindici: Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud,
For in that shell of mother breeds a bawd.

The Revenger's Tragedy, IV.iv

Mid-morning it occurred to my disturbed brain to wonder what C the G might wear to the audience, knowing, as did I, that nothing would happen except an adjournment & since this is summer that the judge wouldn't even be the same one we'll see when we're playing for money. I thought she might go for the throat with her Whore of Babylon scarlet dress, the one she wore the last time we met in that same courtroom, actually just a tiny little office called the Bibliotheque, where everyone is far too close together. Given how wild C the G looked & sounded, I think it might be more appropriate to put us in cages next time. She can spit at me through the bars. My lawyer, who is now openly hostile to me, just asked for a week or two, which we were granted, while asking the judge to note that the current decision is (or should be) enforceable in the meantime. The judge confirmed, so C the G asked to speak. The judge said: "No, you can speak on 22 July." C the G spoke anyway, squawking that she would never give Rose to me, which is odd, since has always done so in the past, except once. The judge told her to shut up and obey the law, or face the consequences. I think she prefers the latter, and I'm not really sure there will be any. We'll find out tomorrow morning, as I try to convince the police to go get Rose. I don't know how likely that is to happen. She is really getting fat, although her tits are swelling in proportion. She needs to find some new underwear to wear under those clingy summer shorts. If I can't get Rose in July, I'll just ask for August, as the decision should fall about the first of the month. I'm sorry. This text is no good. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 5 July 2010

Subject: Uccellatore vs Reiss

In the final analysis what I have done is to set the problem of life vs art on its head in order to use life as the support medium for art.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 2 July 2010

Subject: Howl, Howl, Howl, Howl, Motherfuckers!

Vindice: Oh fie, fie, that's the wrong end my lord! 'Tis mere impossible that a mother by any gifts should become a bawd to her own daughter!

The Revenger's Tragedy, I.iii

C the G greeted me with her fat belly, sunglasses, her eldest daughter, & a couple of the latter's sleazy friends. She told me Rose was with her mother's friends, possibly Olivier & Beatrice Dupont of Namur, Belgium (May their souls be damned.) in a rented bungalow "somewhere in France". The cop (unfortunately NOT Damien) let it slip that: "elle est pas loin" & then "in Lablachere", but how the fuck does he know that? Because the recidivist author of a penal offense in commission told him so on the phone? Would it not be prudent to check? He didn't seem to think that necessary, and so my mother, Antistrophe, & I wait until Monday, when nothing will happen anyway. Justice is not only blind; it is also slow as death. The bastard took the complaint, which is only doing his fucking job & not further depriving me & Rose of our rights. I will post my complaint, although it's nothing of interest from a literary point of view, and our conclusions, which may be (depending on what my lawyer does with the text I wrote, if anything), when that seems prudent, or possibly before such a time. For the moment, I can only utter a few rhyming words of wrath: bitch, bawd, whore of Babylon, begone from this Earth, and spare it (and us) of your girth.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 28 June 2010

Subject: My Friend Charles

Thanks for all of the suggestions, but I've opted for a short piece by my favorite composer & homestate buddy Charles Ives, Halloween in Pete Boulez' version, not that I had any choice about the latter. It's good for people with diminished attention spans, fits our mood, and gives a nice understanding of the man's music. The string parts sound as if the first & second violinists were trying to gouge each other's eyes out with their bows, and eye-gouging is very Jacobean, although Shakes had no great aversion to it, as witnessed in King Lear, but his plays are mostly undatable. Indeed the theatres may have had to be closed after John Ford, even if the Puritans hadn't taken power, as the snuff flick was about to be invented onstage. At one minute it sounds like a fight broke out in the bar, and bodies are falling across the keyboard. At 1:30 the drunks seem to turn their interest to a drumset discovered when someone collapsed behind the piano. Since it's often associated with the Outdoor Tone Pieces or Three Places in New England, this might not be exactly what Chas had in mind, but we agree on the main bits. In my research I discovered that the "heart attacks" that debilitated him at forty were actually psychological in nature, a scary thought. A great mind burnt out by thinking too hard, and a living corpse left to rot for another forty years. Of course, Chas was burning the candle at both ends, writing insurance policies during the day and music at night. He married late, but there's no note that they had any children. I had thought of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, but it doesn't stand up to repeated listenings. It was used in the Exorcist, but that would seem like ancient history to Rose. Although the film had an impact on me, and I've walked that stairwell in Georgetown, I was ten when it was made, and I never saw it, as I'm afraid of horror movies. Life is bad enough without them.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 25 June 2010

Subject: May Heads Roll

Most of you are musicians, and those who are not understand contemporary popular music better than I, so I will ask you to please download the following ZIP archive:

http://www.sagreiss.org/revenger/chumbawamba_revengers_tragedy.zip (65mb)

I tried to listen to these eleven songs, but could not bear to hear more than thirty seconds of any one of them. Is this music as horribly bad as I think it is? Techno in the eighties was awful, but we only had to listen to it when we were drunk, and we were just trying to get laid anyway. A discotheque is not exactly a concert hall. This music sounds as if it had been composed & performed by a computer, and I wouldn't expect much of a 'puter trying to write poetry. Or, if you can't be bothered to listen to this worthless tripe, could you please suggest music associated with the revenge theme (or the silkworm theme) or indeed any music that might illustrate the bloodthirsty genre of Jacobean tragedy that Marcel Schwob has so beautifully described. Carmina Burana would be an obvious choice, but that's been done so many times, best by our friend Pete Paul Pasolini. I can't even find what fucking music Visconti used in his 1961 film of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, which approaches our target in both time & feeling, not to mention sex & death. [Inceste replaces necrophilia in the thematic structure, while the impaled heart of Annabella replaces the skull of Gloriana as a prop.] Basically what we're looking for is rape & murder, heads will roll. Has not Shosti done this on a day when he wasn't feeling well? Or someone else? Please advise.

From: SAGReiss

Date: 22 June 2010

Subject: The Revenge Paradox

A short word on our new theme. Last year Naia's family had some silkworms, an age-old tradition in Ardony where they eat blackberry leaves. Apparently conditions were ripe, for the five cases of worms pictured are the result of the eggs (or larvae or whatever the fuck it's called) of the one case we saw last year. When I saw the magnanery, I wanted to take pictures, and the verse of Tourneur (I hadn't yet heard of the Middleton attribution.) came to mind. The title, lurid style, & gory plot brought my mind back to my woes, so before the pics were even taken the page had already taken shape in my mind. Whether the title should be interpreted according to the esthetic or vulgar meaning of the word "tragedy" will depend on whether the outcome is paradoxical for C the G (She wants me to be unfathered, but may have unwittingly given me the opportunity to obtain shared custody.) or catastrophic for Rose (if I am indeed unfathered, which is highly unlikely). I've found the film from Liverpool, but it is utterly unwatchable, like a 105-minute music video. I'm trying to download the soundtrack by Chumbawamba, but having no luck. I'd be willing to buy it, but not for sixty-five pounds sterling. And they wonder why we share. Once again, congratulations Murder & Molly. May you never fight a custody battle. That leaves only negatron & Nichelle bachelor(ette)s. I guess Miss Limeblossom is the next lucky lady. Nichelle, any wooers coming your way?

Catherine Uccellatore

See you in court, bitch.

Rose Reiss

SAGReiss