electronic carcass

I’m going for the comfortable middlebrow here, dragging my love for indie rock bullshit back. This song has been looping in my head for a couple of weeks now.  Now i want to toss it into your lap for no good reason.

For a long time, i misheard “electronic carcass” as “electronic ficus” and i prefer it.

if memory can really be stored on DNA

That story about long term memory being stored on DNA is still nagging at me. It’s hard to speculate what is possible when there is so little information avaiable, but:

  • Viruses clip pieces of DNA from one organism, incorporating them into their own structure, then later injecting them into new host organisms. Do viruses also clip the methyl groups that are on DNA? Could these be injected into another organism? Memory transmission by virus!
  • Would memories of dead humans be able to be recreated from their DNA?
  • If the memories of humans can be recreated from their DNA, why not that of other hominids, particularly Neandertals, since we are on the verge of sequencing their genome? If we can clone a Neandertal, can we decipher what is stored in their genetic memory?

Again, wild speculation on my part. I don’t really understand much about DNA methylation, but am curious to know what is possible.

Some lines from Emmanuel Bove

From his novel My Friends.  The book is the self-pitying, self-mythologizing monologue of a poor, lonely, vain, insecure ex-soldier.  It is written simply, with short declarative sentences that pile onto one another and occaisionally jut strangely from the narration, as below:

[Our hero Baton is describing a neighbor]: “He has two daughters and he beats them-just with his hand-for their own good.  They have sinews at the back of their knees.  Their hats are held on by elastic.”

The bulk of the story is devoid of these sorts of non-sequiturs, so when they pop up they’re quite noticeable.  The protag is a relentless non-generalizer, and when he does make a broad statement is is often painfully insincere.

[From a section in which Baton, in an effort to draw attention to himself, loiters around the riverbank hoping to convince passerby that he’s suicidal]: “I like the words ‘hope’ and ‘future’ in the silence of my head, but as soon as I speak them it seems to me that they lose their meaning.”

Bove came to my attention as a monologist in the line of Bernhard and Dostoevsky.  So far (this is my first book of his), he reads more like Walser or Kafka.

Here Comes Everybody!

Even if i have burned out on reading comics for the past few months (as most of them have been excessively shitty, even for pop pulp,) i still read a lot of comics blogs. When one threw up a post of fake solicitations mocking Marvel for lame whoring of Avengers and Wolverine, this gem was thrown in there:

MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: FINNEGANS WAKE #1 (of 6)
Written by ROY THOMAS
Pencils & Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Once again, the magnificent Roy Thomas returns to the pages of classic fiction in Marvel Illustrated, praised as “Better than CliffNotes!” by Greg Burgas (Comic Book Resources). Thrill to this adaptation of James Joyce’s most confusingly important work! Gasp at the adventures of the cad with a pipe! Marvel at fan-favorite artist Bill Sienkiewicz luridly depicting the dream world of Joyce’s mind! Shudder at the intrepid prose that sent poor Roy Thomas to the mental hospital!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I want it!

Just remembered that I have my twenty year old copies of Stray Toasters stowed away somewhere and i don’t feel the slightest urge to dig it out.

Book on the Horizon

The Letters of Samuel Beckett, the first volume of which is due out (in England?) in February 2009.

The first volume covers the period 1929-1940.  Publisher’s copy:

The letters written by Samuel Beckett between 1929 and 1940 provide a vivid and personal view of Western Europe in the 1930s, and mark the gradual emergence of Beckett’s unique voice and sensibility. The Cambridge University Press edition of The Letters of Samuel Beckett offers for the first time a comprehensive range of letters of one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Selected for their bearing on his work from over 15,000 extant letters, the letters published in this four-volume edition encompass sixty years of Beckett’s writing life (1929–1989), and include letters to friends, painters and musicians, as well as to students, publishers, translators, and colleagues in the world of literature and theater. For anyone interested in twentieth-century literature and theater this edition is essential reading, offering not only a record of Beckett’s achievements but a powerful literary experience in itself.

(via This Space, which also has a post up on the “new” Bernhard)

“In that delicate duel…

…there were neither defeats nor victories nor even an open encounter…”

For the sake of proportion, I will post the response of one N.T. di Giovanni to this post, in which I quoted a portion of a letter Marian Skedgell (who is now or once was apparently an editor at Dutton) wrote to the Atlantic.  Ms. Skedgell asserted, among other things, that Maria Kodama “now regards Di Giovanni as a thief who stole thousands of dollars from her estate.”  Given that that bit was front-paged here, I think it is only right to front-page the response:

I had never before seen Marian Skedgell’s Atlantic letter. I had never before known that Maria Kodama thinks I stole money from Borges or from her. Talk of throwing the stone and hiding the hand. I am sorry to say that Kodama is ignorant of all that took place between others and Borges before she came along. By sheer coincidence, just this morning I came across some old correspondence dealing with the royalty divisions of The Book of Imaginary Beings. Among the vast library of things that Kodama does not know is that I doubled Dutton’s original offer for the book back in 1968. At the time, Borges was so uninterested in money that he did not even bother to tell me what his financial relations were with his co-author Margarita Guerrero. There is far more to tell, all documented, but I have miles to go before I sleep.