Archive | January 17, 2010

The Storm Fiend Did Loudly Bray

Tay Bridge collapseOn a stormy winter night in 1879, the bridge over the Firth of Tay collapsed while a passenger train was crossing it (thus prompting the cancellation of the builder’s contract to complete a similar bridge over the Firth of Forth).

Adding insult to injury, the Scottish poet William McGonagall quickly commemorated the disaster with a remarkably bad poem.

Opinions differ as to whether McGonagall’s badness was deliberate and conscious (in the manner of William Shatner’s song stylings, perhaps) or merely the product of incompetence.

Anyway, read the poem if you dare.

Zoo Story

Rebecca West on John Maynard Keynes:

He closely resembled a handsome, elderly seal, in the long fluence of his outline, the sinuosity of his strength, the roundness of his brow, and the projection of his gray moustache. Had his destiny placed him on a rocky eminence in a zoo, he would have caught the fish that an entranced public would certainly have thrown him in unprecedented amounts, with a dexterity all his own. (“From England,” Harper’s, June 1946.)

Seal and Keynes

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