Tourist Season

Old joke, if they call it tourist season, why can’t we shoot them? If that were really the case, I’d been dead years ago.

Single Image Link, an obvious aside to the Simple Side Project.

Wait, haven’t I used that link?

Maybe. It’s just, in its badness, there is goodness. Nothing can quite capture the essence of that town like the image from Mi Tierra (Never Closes) restaurant, and the frightful possibility of strolling Mariachi duos, trios, quartets, &c. It’s very Tex-Mex, in cuisine, in culture, in atmosphere. Ambience. Tex-Mex to the core.

All of that from a simple sepia shot. Here’s the amusing kicker, for me: that image? Not digitally manipulated. Not at all. No tricks. No filters, no hue and saturation, just a clumsy iPhone image. Or just a cheap digital camera. Either way, not a great shot. Which makes it all the more better. Surely does.

Post Modern | Conceptualism

Viking Portable Chaucer:

Pursuant to the weekly video, I pulled all the books off the shelf, shuffled around all the computer hardware, and plugged everything back in. New Year’s cleaning, “by your leave.”

I came across two items of interest, possibly three. In my Shakespeare collection, I’ve got numerous volumes of supposed history, biography, and so forth. One is by Ackroyd. Who also, apparently, has a new translation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales out. That copy of Chaucer-in-translation, got the usual reviews with the usual glowing remarks, but then, I happened on one reviewer who went the other way.

Chaucer’s canon is revered as the breaking point, the tipping point, the moment English, which was a sad and confused language for the plebeian crowds, a language that was sorry mash-up of Anglo-Saxon, Low German, and High French, with a smattering of other guttural, tongue-flapping noises worked into a common lingua franca, anyway, Chaucer put English as a viable language on the map.

Chaucer was also an old-school astrologer and/or astronomer, but never mind that now, cf., Treatise on the Astrolabe.

The review pulled enough examples to put me off my quest for a copy of that translation. However, the catch (point, match) wasn’t about that version of Chaucer’s Tales, of which, I have several. It’s about Mercury Retrograde, dealing with the exigencies of that planet’s influence, and clearing off my book shelves.

I have an old copy, bought in a ‘used book’ bookstore, of the Viking Portable Chaucer. I have shuffled that particular text into the “used bookstore/donate library book sale” pile twice now. Popped up again. When I was out taking care of business, I tossed that very copy – I picked it up from my “throw away” pile and stuffed the text in my pack.

Out of dozens of Chaucer texts, this last shuffling, I decided to unload some of the texts that I will never, ever consult. Or never consult again. I’ve got, I had to stop and check, three versions of the mammoth “Riverside” (complete works) of Chaucer. 1936, 1956, 1986. I’m sure there’s another one out now, but I’m happy with what I’ve got. Which is why that Viking Portable Chaucer was headed towards the recycle stack, in the first place.

Grabbing that tattered copy, I bounced around town, did chores, looked at a pile of books, there are two piles now, salable, going to the used book store, and library donations, where the books are sold off to raise money for the public libraries, a good cause, in and of itself.

I flipped that book open once, glanced at the pages, and I decided I liked my other copies better, some with undergraduate notes still inter-linear. My handwriting hasn’t improved.

Almost like it’s a Mercury Retrograde ritual. Get a copy of a book, decide to release it, then hold on to it, only to realize that the first decisions was the correct one.

Maybe.

Still have to find a girlfriend with a truck to take all these to the library.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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  • Sarah Jan 8, 2010 @ 9:45

    Went through a similar process with the Bhagavad-Gita, early translation, annotated by Tilak. I have one old, beloved copy, maybe 40 years old, much-thumbed, notes in margin, and so forth. The other, later, snazzier version is the one I keep thinking I’ll give away–no, toss–no, sell–well, maybe keep a bit longer–no, I’ll never read it again, give it away. It’s on the back seat of my car, having at long last made the migration from the bookcase-table-bookcase circuit. When Mercury Retro is finally over, maybe it can make its last journey (along with its fellows) to the used bookstore or library resale place. Why is it so hard to get rid of books?