Monday, November 14, 2011

Quick Hits: Burns, Bedouins, Balfour, and the French Foreign Legion

Do you like buns?” Aye, till a’ the seas gang dry.

Ford Madox Ford on Daniel Defoe: “He may have died a mere Grub Street hack but he shall be a hard, angular pebble indeed for oblivion to swallow” (via Bibliographing).

H. W. Crocker III declares the French Foreign Legion one of the ten best thing about Catholicism: “It seems to me that as the product of a Catholic culture, showcasing a Catholic militarism by accepting men of all nations and backgrounds, devoted to one common goal, and by bestowing a sort of secular forgiveness of sins via its traditional offer of anonymity for recruits, it is a good reflection of the Catholic spirit.”

David Lynch: “I quit smoking in December. I’m really depressed about it. I love smoking, I love fire, I miss lighting cigarettes.”

A three-man, seven-camel team is traveling “in the footsteps of Thesiger” from Salalah, Oman, to Abu Dhabi. On Day One of the expedition, two of the men were thrown from their camels, resulting in a concussion and 13 stitches for team leader Adrian Hayes. Then Salalah was hit by a deadly cyclone that flooded towns and wadis, delaying the team’s departure. They’ve finally hit the road, though, and things are looking up: “Over a campsite fire and dining in true Bedouin style, Adrian was welcomed as guest of honour at the dinner. A goat was also sacrificed in Adrian’s honour.”

Balfour the bibliophile: “Nothing ever interfered with his reading. He always had several books on hand at once. The latest work on science might be found propped up on the mantelpiece of his bedroom to vary the process of dressing, and Lady Frances once declared that she suspected him of ‘making a raft of his sponge’ to support a French novel while he took his bath. It was seldom that some work by Edgar Wallace or P.G. Wodehouse was absent from his bedside after these authors rose to fame, and the table by his arm-chair was always heaped with books of history, or Memoirs. . . . Serious fiction was perhaps the only class of book upon which he was cautious of embarking. He never began a new novel until he was assured that it ended well. If no such assurance was forthcoming, he fell back upon Scott, Jane Austen, Kipling, and Stevenson.”

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