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April Archive

26th May, 2002 (Sunday)

Jim Consedine

Aroha Terry of Tainui, an expert in sexual abuse cases, claims marae justice is more effective than the traditional Pakeha justice system. In the latter, a person can be locked away for a few years in jail and no-one hears about it. they never have to face their accusers or take responsibility for their actions, and they never have to change. There is no healing for the victim, no healing for the whanau. In the Pakeha system there is no appropriate procedure for the whanau, and no empowerment for them to make decisions.

Under marae justice it is just the opposite. The purpose of marae justice is a healing for all: it is not a battleground. The process is primarily about hearing and helping the victim, healing the whanau, and helping the healing the perpetrator. It works for all three.

from Restorative Justice - healing the effects of crime (chapter 6) published Ploughshares Publications 1995

Pakeha - name given by Maori to those of European descent
Whanau - family, including extended family

25th May, 2002

Richard Schickel

Kubrick's virtuosity as a filmmaker, and the range of his subjects, have served to disguise his near-obsessive concern with these two matters - the brutal brevity of the individual's span on earth and the indifference of the spheres to that span, whatever its length, whatever achievements are recorded over its course. His works, whatever their ostensible themes, must always be seen as acts of defiance against this tragic fate.

On both points he has been quite specific. Here, for example, is Kubrick on the subject of individual mortality: "Man is the only creature aware of his own mortality and is at the same time generally incapable of coming to grips with this awareness and all its implications. Millions of people thus, to a great or lesser degree, experience emotional anxieties, tensions and unresolved conflicts that frequently express themselves in the form of neuroses and a general joylessness that permeates their lives with frustration and bitterness and increases as they older and see the grave yawning before them." (This was, of course, the theme of the great, and greatly misunderstood, Barry Lyndon, in which Kubrick time-travelled deeper into the past than he ever has into the future. At the end of a movie full of pointless (and chance-dictated) adventures, endless, equally meaningless duplicity, all in aid of trivial social advantage, he brings his eponymous antihero to precisely the point described in the preceding quotation. The film's last words belong to an anonymous, narrator (godlike, as a novelist is), who comments simply that the people of this long-ago tale, however, they stood in relationship to one another in life, "are all equal now." That is to say, they are all in their graves.

from Schickel on Film (chapter 5) published William Morrow 1989

24th May, 2002

Taylor Caldwell   Reback, Janet Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985)  [pseudonyms: Janet Miriam Taylor Holland Caldwell, Taylor Caldwell, Taylor Caldwell Prestie, Max Reiner]

The teacher sighed, a faint sigh that spoke of exhaustion and hopelessness.

"The kids don't need luxurious school palaces. My generation didn't'. they need only sound buildings; no luxuries. They don't need' supervised' play. Why can't people let kids alone? They've become 'projects' now, of idle mothers who in other generations were too busy caring for their homes and cooking and baking and washing and sewing and taylor caldwelscrubbing floors and ironing and window-cleaning and baby-tending. There is nothing so dangerous to a whole nation that a tribe of idle women busying themselves with 'projects' of one sort or another. I'd like to hang the men who invented automatic washing machines and other gadgets! Now the majority of people don't' have homes' they have 'housing' for electrical equipment which gives them more time - more time for what? Mischief. No wonder we have the problem of juvenile delinquency."

from The Man who Listens (Soul Eleven) published by Collins 1961

23rd May, 2002

D Gareth Jones

What is a person? Robert Wennberg (Life in the Balance) identifies personhood with the ability to engage in acts of intellect, emotion and will at an appropriate level. Fro him, persons are individuals with a developed capacity for rational, moral and spiritual agency, that is, they can think, reflect, make plans, fall in love, worship, make decisions and have regrets. Writing from a Christian perspective, he distinguishes between the terms 'person' and 'human', because while God is a person he is not a human being. On the other hand, a dead corpse is still a human corpse even though it is no longer a person, since its gareth jonescapacity for rational activity has been irrevocably terminated. For him, a foetus is human but is not a person, since it has not yet developed the functional ability to engage in personal acts. He also argues that personal life does not begin to emerge until some time after birth, when the socialization process begins. Both foetuses and newborn infants possess biological human life, but neither possesses personal human life. This statement by itself does not tell us whether or not foetuses have a right to life; that has to be determined on other grounds.

from Valuing People - human value in a world of medical technology, (chapter 5) published 1999 by Paternoster Press

22nd May, 2002

Henry James

henry jamesI saw in a moment that the good lady had never before been spoken to in that way, with a kind of humorous firmness which did not exclude sympathy but was on the contrary founded on it. She might easily have told me that my sympathy was impertinent, but this by good fortune did not occur to her. I left her with the understanding that she would consider the matter with her aunt and that I might come back the next day for their decision.

"The aunt will refuse; she will think the whole proceeding very louche!" Mrs. Prest declared shortly after this, when I had resumed my place in her gondola. She had put the idea into my head and now (so little are women to be counted on) she appeared to take a despondent view of it. Her pessimism provoked me and I pretended to have the best hopes; I went so far as to say that I had a distinct presentiment that I should succeed. Upon this Mrs. Prest broke out, "Oh, I see what's in your head! You fancy you have made such an impression in a quarter of an hour that she is dying for you to come and can be depended upon to bring the old one round. If you do get in you'll count it as a triumph."

I did count it as a triumph, but only for the editor (in the last analysis), not for the man, who had not the tradition of personal conquest.

from The Aspern Papers (Chapter 2) first published 1888

21st May, 2002

George Eliot

Hetty clung round Dinah, and shuddered again. The silence seemed long before she went on.

"I met nobody, for it was very early, and I got into the wood…. I knew the way to the place…the place against the nut-tree; and I could hear [the baby] crying at every step…I thought it was alive…I don't know whether I was frightened or glad…I don't know what I felt. I only know I was in the wood, and heard the cry. I don't know what I felt till I saw the baby was gone. And when I'd put it there, I thought I should like somebody to find it, and save it from dying; but when I saw it was gone, I was struck like a stone, with fear. I never though o' stirring, I felt so weak. I knew I couldn't run away, and everybody as saw me 'ud know about the baby. My heart went like a stone: I couldn't wish or try for anything; it george eliotseemed like as if I should stay there for ever and nothing 'ud ever change. But they came and took me away."

Hetty was silent, but she shuddered again, as if there were till something behind; and Dinah waited, for her heart was so full, that tears must come before words. At last Hetty burst out, with a sob -

"Dinah, do you think God will take away that crying and the place in the wood, now that I've told everything?"

from Adam Bede (chapter XLV) first published 1859

20th May, 2002

Richard Carlson

One of the most unavoidable life lessons is having to deal with the disapproval of others. Praise and blame are all the same is a fancy way of reminding yourself of the old cliché that you'll never be able to please all the people all the time.

The truth is, everyone has their own set of ideas with which to evaluate life, and our ideas don't always match those of other people. For some reason, however, most of us struggle against this inevitable fact. We get angry, hurt, or otherwise frustrated when people reject our ideas, tell us no, or give us some other form of disapproval.

The sooner we accept the inevitable dilemma of not being able to win the approval of everyone we meet, the easier our lives will become. When you expect to be dished out your share of disapproval instead of struggling against this fact, you'll develop a helpful perspective to assist your life journey. Rather than feeling rejected by disapproval, you can remind yourself, "Here it is again. That's okay." You can learn to be pleasantly surprised, even grateful when you receive the approval your hoping for.

from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - and it's all small stuff. (number 34) published Hyperion 1997

19th May, 2002 (Sunday)

J C Ryle

Let us mark well this lesson. If we are true Christians we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full j c ryleforgiveness, grace by the way, and glory at the end - all this our Saviour has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. He loves us too well to promise that. By affliction He teaches us many precious lessons, which without it we should never learn. By affliction He shows us our emptiness and weakness, draws us to the throne of grace, purifies our affections, weans us from the world, makes us long for heaven. In the resurrection morning we shall all say, "It is good for that I was afflicted." We shall thank God for every storm.

from Expository Thoughts on the Gospels - Mark, first published in 1856

18th May, 2002

Billy Collins

First Reader

I can see them standing politely on the wide pages
that I was still learning to turn,
Jane in a blue jumper, Dick with his crayon-brown hair
playing with a ball or exploring the cosmos
of the backyard, unaware they are the first characters,
the boy and girl who begin fiction.

Beyond the simple illustration of their neighbourhood
the other protagonists were waiting in a huddle:
frightening Heathcliff, frightened Pip, Nick Adams
carrying a fishing rod. Emma Bovary riding into Rouen.

But I would read about the perfect boy and his sister
even before I would read about Adam and Eve, garden and gate,
and before I heard the name Gutenberg, the type
of their simple talk was moving into my focusing eyes.

It was always Saturday and he and she
were always pointing at something and shouting, "Look!"
pointing at the dog, the bicycle, or at their father
as he pushed a hand mower over the lawn,
waving at the aproned mother framed in the kitchen doorway,
pointing toward the sky, pointing at each other.

They wanted us to look but we had looked already
and seen the shaded lawn, the wagon, the postman.
We had seen the dog, walked, watered and fed the animal,
and now it was time to discover the infinite, clicking
permutations of the alphabet's small and capital letters.
Alphabetical ourselves in the rows of classroom desks,
we were forgetting how to look, learning how to read.

from Questions about Angels, published Quill, 1991

17th May, 2002

Roger Millington

On a celebrated occasion [Margaret Farrar] received an indignant letter about her clue 'Manager of the Globe Theatre'. The writer had pohoned New York's Globe to discover that the theatre had two managers and that neither of the names would fit [in the crossword]. She had to break it to him gently that the chap she had in mind was called William Shakespeare.margaret farrar

Perhaps the most remarkable mistake was the one she related to an interviewer from the New Yorker:  "Not long ago a constructor sent in a puzzle that asked for long John Silver's distinguishing characteristic, in nine letters. The answer, of course, was 'wooden leg'. Well, we'd just used Long John Silver in a puzzle, so I switched it to Captain Ahab's distinguishing characteristic. After the puzzle came out, I got a letter from an eight-year-old boy complianing that while he'd found that the only answer that fitted was 'wooden leg', as a reader of Moby Dick he knew that Captain Ahab had an ivory leg. Perfectly true, but I couldn't help wondering, rather testily, what an eight-year-old was doing reading Moby Dick!"

from The Strange World of the Crossword (chapter 6) published M & J Hobbs, 1974

16th May, 2002

Dr Ebenezer Cobham Brewer - initiator of the Brewere Dictionary 'formula.'

MontgomeryMonty: Nickname of Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), British Commander in World War II. Under his direction the British Eight Army was victorious at Alamein and drove Rommel's forces back to Tunis (1943), making Montgomery a national hero in the UK. Subsequently he clashed with US military leaders over the command of allied forces in the D Day Campaign and lost face at home over the defeat at Arnheim. His reputation recovered somewhat following his successful drive into Germany in 1945. His flamboyant manner and sometimes irascible relations with other commanders guaranteed him a lasting place in the public's affections.

'Indomitable in retreat; invincible in advance; insufferable in victory '- Winston Churchill, describing Montgomery.

He became 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in 1946. After the war, he cultivated his reputation as a blimpish and reactionary old gentleman:

'This sort of thing may be tolerated by the French, but we are British - thank God'. - reaction to a parliamentary bill to relax the laws against homosexuality 1965.

from Brewer's Twentieth Century Phrase & Fable, published Market House Books 1991

15th May, 2002

Josip Novakovich

Part of plotting is style, seduction - the manner, rhythms, jokes. Sometimes your word choice should be cheeky, spicy; sometimes your descriptions should be poetic, other times, raw. Shock, provoke, use marvellous information, write interesting sentences - beautiful or crisp. Of course, what you emphasize will depend on your temperament. Devise your style of seduction to keep stealing the reader's attention. Be crafty, charming, thoughtful, but never slow and dull, unless of course, you want to bore the reader.

josip novakovichPeople sometimes read for the sheer beauty of prose, but to finish reading the whole novel, they need something more - intrigue, tension. Create problems, and make the solutions unpredictable. Be suspenseful by raising questions and attaining the answers gradually, through a series of steps and revelations. Solve problems through action evolved through scenes rather than by simply revealing and telling us what the solution is. Keep raising the stakes.

from Writing Fiction Step by Step (Chapter 3) published by Story Press 1998

14th May, 2002

Robert Louis Stevenson

"Well, said I, "I am not such a fool but I know pretty well what I have to look for. Let the worst come to the worst, it's little I care. I've seen too many die since I fell in with you. But there's a thing or two I have to tell you," I said, and by this time I was quite excited; "and the first is this: here you are, in a bad way: ship lost, treasure lost, men lost; your whole business gone to wreck; and if you want to know who did it - it was I! I was in the apple barrel the night we sighted land, and I heard you, John, and you, Johnson, and Hands, who is now at the bottom of the sea, and told every word you said before the hour was out. And as for the schooner, it was I who cut her cable, and it was I that killed the men you had aboard of her, and it was I who brought her where you'll never see her more, not one of you. The laugh's on my side; I've had the top of this business from the first; I no more fear you than I fear a fly. Kill me, if you please, or spare me. But one thing I'll say, and no more: if you spare me, bygones are bygones, and when you fellows are in court for piracy, I'll save you all I can. It is for you to choose. Kill another and do yourselves no good, or spare me and keep a witness to save you from the gallows."

I stopped, for, I tell you, I was out of breath, and to my wonder, not a man of them moved, but all sat staring at me like as many sheep. And while they were still staring, I broke out again, "And now, Mr. Silver," I said, "I believe you're the best man here, and if things go to the worst, I'll take it kind of you to let the doctor know the way I took it."

"I'll bear it in mind," said Silver with an accent so curious that I could not, for the life of me, decide whether he were laughing at my request or had been favourably affected by my courage.

from Treasure Island (chapter 28).  First published 1881

13th May, 2002

A J Cronin

José's upbringing had been hard. When his father died he was only twelve and a few months later he was taken from school and sent to work in the fields. He had known poverty, exacting labour, the grinding anxiety of the breadwinner. All this had made him resolute and self-contained: he was no easy prey for idle fancies or tenuous emotions. Moreover, his cheerful disposition and his prowess at pelota had made him a universal favourite, given him many friends. And he had, of course, his mother, the five sisters, even old Pedro - everyone of whom he dutifully loved. Yet all this was nothing beside this new, still from spanish gardenermelting affection for a this little boy which, soft as a Southern air, had sprung from he knew not where, filling him with tenderness, and with a strange protective pity. He could not account for it. he only knew that it made his heart sing.

José's mind, although alert, was not especially subtle; yet he read, clear as day, the evidence that was written upon these nervous features which flickered, even now, in sleep. The Consul's possessive love, raising an impassable barrier between Nicholas and the world, his dread of illness that, by its fad and fussiness, had reduced the child to a state of chronic invalidism, his morbid jealousy, so exhausting to the youthful spirit, his moods and rages, inflicted continually, his stupid pride… José instinctively surmised them all and, with his whole soul, he wished that he might free this unsuspecting victim and restore him, unburdened, to a natural life.

from The Spanish Gardener, (chapter 9) published 1950 (Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd NZ)

12th May, 2002 (Sunday)

Larry Crabb

Proud people want an explanation of whatever goes wrong. If we discover that our fear of intimacy is a result of childhood abuse, then our lives seem more under control. Now we have something to work on to make things better. By thinking hard about the human condition and coming up with theories about what is going on, we destroy mystery, and we maintain the illusion that, with enough insight and effort, we can take care of ourselves and our suffering will end.

A trip to a third-world country, where people live with a definition of comfort unimaginably different from ours, may realign our perspective with an eternal one. It is good to relieve larry crabbsuffering wherever we can and to promote personal recovery and physical comfort, but something else matters more.

There is more to life than recovering from hardship. Neither our personal pain nor the struggles of millions to survive can serve as the organizing focus of life. Future hope is more valuable than present relief. Until we realize this, we are not on the path to finding God.

from Finding God (chapter 4) published by Zondervan 1993

11th May, 2002

Sholem Asch

[Yechiel's] mother was no longer crying. Her eyes stared rigidly out of their sockets. A look of helpless terror was on her face. She seemed to be gazing into the abyss that would open to swallow her as soon as her life ended. Yechiel could see the terror in her face and cast about in his mind for help. It was clear to him that here even his neighbour Melech would be able to do nothing. He sought for some other help. "O God, whence cometh my help?" he asked himself in the words of the Psalmist. And he answered himself with another verse of the Psalms: "In the days of my trouble I will call upon God." And since he knew of no other help, he sat down on the firewood beside the hearth, took up his psalm book and began in a broken voice to read the page at which he chanced to open. sholem asch

What the words meant that he was reading no longer mattered to him. He poured all his own wretchedness, his own grief into them. And strangely enough the words took on a quite different meaning; they uttered what he, Yechiel, was feeling now. They uttered it to One who knew all and could do all that could be done, One who had the power to make everything right again. And Yechiel saw that One before him now, stood before Him and made his complaint to Him.

From Salvation, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir, published 1953 in an enlarged and revised edition by Macdonald and Co, Ltd.

10th May, 2002

charles braschCharles Brasch   (see also)

Born and Made (to Iain Lonie)

I lose you among words and rhythms, lose
The man and find the poet more than man,
Groundswell of voices speaking in your one
Voice, though you did not hear them till they chose
You instrument and charged you hotly with
Their passions and obediences; you are theirs
Hardly your own; you serve their wars,
Suffer their knowing, recreate them from death.
It is the poet raises up the man
Unidentified even to himself before,
A maker servant to no master known,
Who lives by words and rhythms plucked from fire,
Feels no foundation under him, treading air,
And weaves a thousand lives and none his own.

All lives are yours, all instruments of life;
You make your own in living theirs, they grow
In your imagining, each becomes you,
Though you can never rest finished and safe
With them, for you are water and wind, your work
Goes on throughout waking and sleeping, by
Your leave or no; all that blows your way
Points you beyond weather and landmark.
Listening endlessly, choosing and forming
By instinct, sense and reason, you remake
Your life and earn your gift daily, becoming
The seed you start from and the void you seek,
That nothing from which all things draw their seeming
As you tread the maze between dark and dark.

from Collected Poems, edited by Alan Roddick, published Oxford University Press, 1984

9th May, 2002

Charles Dickens

sam weller"He's a havin' two mile of danger at eight-pence," responded the son. "How's the mother-in-law this morning?"

"Queer, Sammy, queer," replied the elder Mr Weller, with impressive gravity. "She's been getting rayther in the Methodistical order lately, Sammy, and she is uncommon pious to be sure. She's too good a creetur for me, Sammy. I feel I don't deserve her."

"Ah," said Mr Samuel, 'that's very self-denyin' o' you."

"Wery," replied his parent, with a sigh. "She's got hold o' some inwention for grown-up people being born again, Sammy' the new birth, I thinks they calls it. I should wery much like to see that system in haction, Sammy. I should wery much like to see your mother-in-law born again. Wouldn't I put her out to nurse!"

from The Pickwick Papers, (Chapter XXII) serialised 1836-18377 and published in book form 1837.

8th May, 2002

P G Wodehouse

Mr Megg's mind was made up. He was going to commit suicide.

There had been moments, in the interval which had elapsed between the first inception of the idea and his present state of fixed determination, when he had wavered. In these moments he had debated, with Hamlet, the question whether it was nobler in the mind to suffer, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. But all that was over now. He was resolved.

Mr Megg's point, the main plank, as it were, in his suicidal platform, was that with him it was beside the question whether or not it was nobler to suffer in the mind. The mind hardly entered into it at all. What he had to decided was whether it was worth while putting up any longer with the perfectly infernal pain in his stomach. For Mr Meggs was a martyr to indigestion . as he was also devoted tot he pleasures of the table, life had become for him one long battle, in which, whatever happened, he always got the worst of it.

from The Man with Two Left Feet and other stories published Methuen 1917

7th May, 2002

Rosemary Haughton

The same applies to the minister harassed by demands (conscious or not) that he cannot, rosemary haughtonpersonally, meet. He may not be able to solve the theological puzzles, provide quick answers to agonizing moral dilemmas, give truthful reassurances about the future of the Church or act as a banner for whatever reform is in view. What he can do is to enable others to draw from him the confidence to cope with these things for themselves, or the courage to endure what cannot be altered. He may or may not have the personal gifts that make him a leader in such situations; he may or may not be able to be (at least a little) the 'thing' as well as the sign of the Church's being-in-Christ. But if he has not those gifts and cannot be that kind of thing, there is still nothing abnormal in his people's expectation that eh will have and be these things, because experience shows that in a crisis this is what people do expect. And even if he has and is none of them he need not retreat, or camouflage his failure. He may be able to do more for the people through his lack of traditional 'priestly' qualities than if he had them, provided he does not give up on his role as a Christian. By his own confidence and faith and love he can inspire others to do what he cannot do for them, and face that from which he cannot protect them.

from The Knife Edge of Experience (Chapter 3) published by Darton Longman and Todd 1972.

6th May, 2002

Frankie McMillan

I have a choice, Gareth told himself. He removed his paisley tie and stared at himself in the mirror. First side on, then full faced with his jaw stuck out. He practised what he was going to say to Ollie.

'You've got until Wednesday,' he said. 'Wednesday,' he intoned again. Then he offered his palms to the mirror. It made him feel like Reginald in Accounts.

'It's the smell I want gone, Ollie, you understand? I don't care about the fire-eating per se.'

To Gareth's surprise Ollie agreed and on Tuesday she scrubbed with a loofah in the bath. She was amazed herself just how blackened the pores on her neck had become. And the lines on her throat! They looked like a grimy necklace. Her arms weren't much better, she thought, rubbing them with soap. She'd singed most of the hairs off by rolling the flaming stick over her hands and arms. The stubble had crisped, giving her arms a slight ginger fuzz.

When Ollie emerged weak and breathless from the bath she hung onto the door to steady herself. The murky bathwater had a faint oil slick on the surface. She blundered to her room in a cloud of steam and threw herself on the bed. the pink netting swan on the bed bounced stiffly against the wall. Ollie grabbed the swan's neck, screwed it around, then hurled it to the end of the bed. She lay back wondering if she could live without Gareth in her life.

from The Bag Lady's Picnic (Jumping the Broomstick) published by Shoal Bay Press 2001.5th May, 2002 (Sunday)

John A T Robinson

There is a resolute refusal throughout the Bible to allow that any person or thing or event can fall out of this personal relationship to God. Nothing can ever be merely impersonal in this universe: to say that it can is a denial of the existence of God. 'If disaster falls on a city, has not the Lord been at work?' (Amos 3:6). Substitute 'love' for 'the Lord' and you get the New Testament version of it. the New Testament insists on preserving the recognition that even the most iron laws of cause and effect, physical and moral, represent in the last analysis the operation of the divine love. And this fact the worst that evil may do cannot finally make void - because the worst evil is still itself the manifestation of the divine orge. That is the ultimate guarantee that this world remains God's world and event he most distorted humanity God's humanity. The divine wrath is the saving guarantee that God has not and cannot elt men go - beyond himself. The process of disintegration which moral retribution bring in its train is still the expression not of an iron karma but of a personal, and even of a loving, will. Once that principle of interpretation is abandoned, faith has no theology of secular history. In fact it is only because in Chapter 1 [of Romans] Paul has surveyed and interpreted the whole of history in terms of God's wrath that he can go on in chapter 8 to survey and interpret it all without exception in terms of God's love

from Wrestling with Romans (page 20) published SCM Press 1979

4th May, 2002

Percy Scholes

For a long time, so far as musical works of reference in the English language are concerned, [Jacques] Grassineau had the whole field to himself, but gradually, from the end of the eighteenth century, other such bokos appeared, the slow procession culminating at last in that great standard boko (on the whole the best large-scale work of its sort in any language) Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the first edition of which trickled out over a period of eleven years, volume one appearing in 1878 and volume four in 1889. Its editor, George Grove ('Sir George' from 1883), was a remarkably versatile man - to mention just a few of his occupations, a Civil Engineer in Jamaica and Bermuda, chief founder and Secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund, and first Secretary of the Crystal Palace, and lastly, Director of the newly found Royal College of Music.

In 1938 the Oxford University Press issued, on both sides of the Atlantic, the present writers' Oxford Companion to Music. The welcome accorded to this Companion has been extremely gratifying. Eight large editions have appeared during its first twelve years and there would have been still more had paper and labour been available during the difficult war and post-war period - a period during which such a book had necessarily often to be disappointingly reported to would-be purchasers as 'out of stock.'

from the introduction to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music published by Oxford University Press 1952 (revised).

3rd May, 2002

Gail Bell

The gaseous form of arsenic is a chemical accident. It has no industrial or commercial use, but comes into being when metals like zinc are treated with hydrochloric acid, or when arsenic wallpapers and decorative mouldings are attacked by bacteria, as in the famous case of the American ambassador to Rome who slept under a ceiling of peeling arsenic roses. So toxic is acute arsine poisoning that it can only be treated with blood transfusions, oxygen inhalation, or agents to halt the destruction of red blood cells.
Industry uses vast quantities of arsenic. The white oxide goes into smelting and refining of ores, as well as taxidermy, and the tanning of skins, furs and hides, while the coloured varieties, red and yellow, are ingredients of pigments used for wallpapers, paints, prints and aniline dyes. In 1958 the world production of arsenic was 40,000 tons and this increased to 55,000 in 1962.
A healthy (read 'non-poisoned') person of average height and weight holds about 18 milligrams of arsenic in their cells, muscle, sinew, bone and nervous tissue as a given. It gets there through life-long interaction with the environment - through the soil, the sea, the air. Five parts of every million parts of the earth's crust are arsenical.  Arsenic is, whether we like it or not, a resident alien in the body's citadel.

from The Poison Principle - a memoir about family secrets and literary poisonings (Chapter 14) published by Picador 2001

2nd May, 2002

Coral Atkinson and Paula Wagemaker

For most of us, the ending of a long-term relationship coincides with a melting away of at least some of the friends of that former life. Every separated person seems to have had the experience of losing some members of their friendship group when the marriage ended. Why this is so is uncertain, but in general friends are often unsure how to relate separately to two people who have once been together, or they side with one or other partner. Often with friendships between two couples, the enthusiasm for the friendship is not equally shared between all four people, so when a marriage fails there is a drifting apart. In some case, the still married give up on both separated individuals, perhaps because they prefer a coupled social scene or because of fear that newly unattached people may try to 'entice away' one of the married couple.

As Barbara observes, once-again singles can find themselves left trying to gather together an alternative life 'on the outside of a cold door.' Susan remembers feeling like 'the carrier of some deadly disease which might spread and undermine the structure of other couples' relationships.' Married people's fear of the single person was something the widow Lynne noticed as she tried to do things around the market garden she had established with her husband. She gives the example of lifting heavy implements onto her tractor. Although her male neighbours were always willing to help, she decided that she couldn't ask them too often. 'I feared that their wives felt threatened about time spent on my property now I was alone.' John still struggles to understand his friends' disapproval after he left his wife for another woman. 'Surely they could see that I was unhappy before,' he says.

from Recycled People -forming new relationships in mid-life, published Shoal Bay Press 2000 (Chapter two)

1st May, 2002

William Shakespeareshakespeare

'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous, save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter, thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name; but do not so:
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
Is good without a name: vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir,
And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born,
And is not like the sire: honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our foregoers. The mere word's a slave,
Debosh'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid
I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

My honour's at the stake, which to defeat
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; thou canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know,
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt:
Obey our will, which travails in thy good:
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee, in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak: thine answer.

King's speech - Act 2 scene 3 - All's Well That Ends Well.

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