Have you ever had a totally irrational and long standing hatred of a product? I just realized the other day that I have this /thing/ against Swiffer! The first time I heard of it I thought it was stupid -- basically a paper towel jammed on to the end of a pole. Gross. Okay, then came "Swiffer Wet". Oh great, so now I get to run this thing all over my filthy floor, then pull it off with my bare hands, delightful. Then for some reason I heard this Swiffer ad coming from the other room (even though we gave up tv for Advent, I swear -- oh that's right we turned it on briefly to check the weather report) and I swear I was /heckling/ the ad out loud! Things like "That's so dumb. Just get a mop, moron".
Anyway, this has been going on for years. I should get over it.
Okay, so having absolutely burned through Crime and Punishment (and again I cannot recommend this new translation strongly enough -- will it help to say that this team have also translated Lossky and Schmemann?), I felt I had to continue in the Slavic vein, so now I'm reading Gogol for the first time. Boy, that's what's great about literacy, isn't it? All your life, no matter how ancient you become, even, say, 36, you can still have new experiences without leaving your living room. Anyway, it's this book of his stories called The Overcoat. So far I've just read the first story, called the Terrible Vengeance. It's one of the weirdest and most lyrical things I've read in a long time. It's kind of a scary fairy tale with a hair raising end bit which turns out to be a prequel thing which explains the whole bizarre thing. Check it out.
Then there's the second story -- I can't remember the name -- Somebody and his Aunt -- and I've only read a bit, but it has this great line from the aunt writing to her nephew. It is the ps and has nothing to do with anything:
We have the most wonderful turnip in our kitchen garden. It is not so much a turnip as a potato.