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Harry Potter and the Ninth Gate

I think it would make a good book—Harry, meet Lucifer and Polanski.

After the introduction a German text, some books, tea, another book, and a musical conclusion. I have this temptation to go rent a season of Buffy on DVD. I reinstalled Windows 95 on Christoph’s old IBM. I listened to an old cassette.

ID1 Fall 1996 Pomona College

It was the fall of 1996 and I was the T.A. for a "freshman seminar" on 20th-century German culture. We read Hesse, Mann and Kafka, and watched Lang—I had the students produce a website as part of a project. Toward the end of the semester one of the students gave me a cassette of German flute music played by her short-term host-family in Germany. Until today I had not listened to it for several years.

It was refreshing.

Restless Legs Syndrome is a real medical condition, like diabetes, depression, or high blood pressure. Many people are unaware that there is a name for their condition: It’s called Restless Legs Syndrome.

Well color me surprised.

Great text provided by Corina:

  1. Es ist nicht die Bestimmung des Staates, Menschen zu beherrschen und durch Gewalt oder durch die Furcht vor Gewaltanwendung zu zügeln, vielmehr ist es die Bestimmung des Staates, die Menschen in eine solche Beziehung zueinander zu bringen und sie darin zu erhalten, daß der Einzelmensch von jeder Furcht befreit in voller Sicherheit und doch ohne Schaden für seinen Nächsten zu leben und zu handeln vermag.
  2. Es ist nicht die Bestimmung des Staates, Menschen zu wilden Tieren oder zu Machinen zu machen, vielmehr ist es die Bestimmung des Staates, dem Einzelmenschen denjenigen Rückhalt zu geben, der es ihm ermöglicht, Körper, Geist und Verstand ungehindert zu betätigen und zu entwickeln.
  3. Es ist nicht die Aufgabe des Staates, unbedingten Gehorsam und blinden Glauben an sich oder an etwas Anderes vom Menschen zu fordern, vielmehr ist es die Bestimmung des Staates, den Einzelmenschen dahin zu führen, daß er nach den Geboten der Vernunft lebt, diese Vernunft bei allen Dingen betägt, und ihn zugleich dazu zu leiten, daß er seine Kraft nicht in Haß, Ärger, Neid verschwendet oder sonst unrecht handelt. Die letzte Bestimmung des Staates ist es daher, der Hütter der Freiheit des Einzelmenschen zu sein. Dann ist es ein gerechter Staat.

Helmuth James von Moltke

Books that I returned on Wednesday:

I read a bit of the Bingham book on the bus last winter; I probably would have liked it had I continued reading. I like Brin, but I never had time to read Kiln People, a book that several of my friends have enjoyed. I watched Angels & Insects a year or two ago, so decided to read the novellas upon which it was based, but never got around to doing so. I began and greatly enjoyed Perdido Street Station, but I figured that I would not get it finished any time soon, so decided to return it to the library. I will definitely finish it later—the writing is at points lush and Mieville’s imagination provides great entertainment. The Smith Volume is one that Jürgen left for me to return to the library last winter; I renewed it under my name, but I neve really got much from it. The introduction and an early chapter are mildly relevant to my work, but only mildly.

A few days ago it was supposed to be hot and humid, 80s or 90s, but curiously enough a chill wind kicked up and the air was coldly damp. Yesterday and today have been perfect: bright, sunny, warm, clear, but not hot or muggy. These have been the only two days recently during which outside was better than inside.

I went outside this afternoon to go inside, and spent a while down at Fair Trade, enjoying a fritter and drinking iced tea. When I arrived it was the busiest I had seen the place in some time, and I managed to find the last available table. Over time some old people cleared out, and then some young people. A few other groups came and went. By the time I left around 5pm the place was mostly empty.

Earlier I stopped by the library after picking up some film at Walgreens. While having coffee and pastries with Sara and Jyoti the other day I was made aware, by Sara, of Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000). Danielewski ... Danielewski ... it made no sense to me at first, but as I sat there in Espresso Royale with the student of religion and the student of philosophy/logic, the name crystalized into something I could recognize: the man is the brother of Poe. Sara said to get the two-color version, which I did. I read a bit of it at Fair Trade—it is my sort of book, though at times it is so self-conscious as to risk being annoying, if only because it sits in a clear tradition (e.g. Name of the Rose, Infinite Jest) and it insists upon being postmodern and deconstructing itself. I hope that I continue to like it.

Now I will listen to Hey Pretty.

—July 28 2005