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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Swiffer and Gogol (good fish names)

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.

12 comments:

Simply Victoria said...

i've tried reading crime and punishment a couple times. i just cannot get through it. it's so dark and horrible. i remember reading a quote from robert louis stevenson, about his experience with the book. it went something like "well that's over, and I'm glad for it. it was like a horrible sickness".
Kurt really liked it, and he said the quote made sense to him, because what Dostoyevsky succeeds so well in doing is getting right into the head of this sick person. He said the last few pages make the whole book worth it. Maybe I'll give it another go.

(ps: you're on the A-list for the retreat, but don't tell anyone...hehe)

RW said...

oh vic? what is the a-list?

Mimi said...

I can't even get a retreat registration form, sigh. :)

I loved Crime and Punishment, it was instrumental in my coming to Orthodoxy. However, I also adore Gogol. The Nose is brilliant.

I've also resisted the Swiffer.

jaime said...

too funny, you actually have good reason to heckle Swiffer Wet. There was a news item not all that long ago about a dog that got the wet solution on its paws, licked its paws and died a few days later of kidney failure. Yikes.

I just recently read Dead Souls by Gogol, my first foray into his works. I enjoyed reading it except that its not finished and there are parts of conversations missing as well as chapters and the ending. Rather annoying, but maybe Richard will stop pestering me about reading Russian authors. (Though I guess it'd be worthwhile reading one of his finished works!)

By the way, you should read There's No Me Without You. Non-fiction book about orphans and the AIDS crisis. I couldn't put it down.

Simply Victoria said...

a-list? there's no a-list. ;)
hey mime, I mailed a poster and registration form to your church over a week ago. It should have been there by now... I sure would love to meet you!

Mimi said...

Me too. I will look at the parish on Sunday.

T. said...

Hilarious about the swiffer!!

Crime and Punishment - I also loved it. I would really like to read the translation you read as well...hmmm...Christmas list??

I read the Overcoat as well...but a couple of years ago, and I'm embarassed to say that though I remember I really liked it, I cannot remember details..so I guess I'd better re-read it hey?

nehamashira said...

I have an irrational and longstanding hatred of telephones. I feel like throwing them through the window. Perhaps it is because there are usually telemarketers on the other end of the line. Lord have mercy on me.

matthew christopher davidson said...

I know exactly what I'm getting you for Christmas.

Susan Katherine said...

IT JUST ATE MY APOLOGY!!! Grrr. Time for bed. Come see my pictures, hope you had a spiffy burpdog.
Shooshx your crap scottish friend who remembers no more than one family occasion per year. Don't ask. Any more funny vegetables? I'm reading 'The Hogfather' by T. Pratchett: it makes me snort aloud occasionally but I'm waiting to decide whether it's actually recommendable.

RW said...

jenny
can you email me.. so that I can email you.. I am not sure how to reach you guys by email... lots to tell.
love ya

Simply Victoria said...

jenny! no more swiffer and gogol!
postpostpost! we long for your wisdom! :)