Published by The Cupboard

February 25, 2009

posted by Nick Sarno

Parables & Lies

review by Naomi Henderson


Parables & Lies by Jesse Ball, is the first in a series of publications put forth by The Cupboard in Summer 2008. It is divided into three sections, however I see no obvious change in theme or scenery from one section to the next. This led me to wonder, was that section all lies, all parables, or perhaps both? The book is quite diminutive in size, and each entry is no more than two pages long. Every descriptive scene is like a condensed fairy tale, replete with fantasy, violence and character types, such as “the merchant” and “the seamstress.” In almost every instance, I could imagine these small paragraphs being fleshed out into entire novels. Despite this, I did not find them terse or unfulfilling. The book seemed to be the outpouring of midnight inspirations and potent snapshots. As an example, I will share the entry entitled “The Carriage-Driver” from section Three:

“In the midst of a terrible storm, a carriage comes thundering down a narrow drive, and pulls up at the entrance to a large mansion. The carriage doors are thrown open and a man with a haughty, powerful bearing exits the carriage and goes to the house. Hours pass. The storm is a brutal call from an angry host, and the tree line flails upon the near hills; the mud churns, pounded by the water’s ceaseless assault. Still the carriage driver waits, trembling. He wants to rub the horses with a soft blanket, but he cannot, for the mud about their hooves is too deep now for him to stand in. In fact the carriage has now sunk so that only half of its wheels rise out of the mud. The horses are curiously dead, slumped in their harnesses, unmoving. Soon the mud will cover them. Then and only then will he knock upon the house’s great door. He will not speak when the door is answered, but will simply point, dumbfounded, at the carriage as it sinks from sight.”

Franklin’s Outline

February 25, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

I came across Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography–it’s kind of an impressive book- it’s only about a quarter inch think. My favorite part, oddly enough, is the very first few pages, that supply his outline. I’m amazed by the even handed way in which he characterizes all the events of his life – each clause demands the same attention and weight.



[Copie d’un Projet tres Curieux de Benjamin Franklin 1 ere Esquisse de ses Memoires. Les additions a l’encre rouge sont de la main de Franklin]

My writing. Mrs. Dogood’s letters. Differences arise between my Brother and me (his temper and mine); their cause in general. His Newspaper. The Prosecution he suffered. My Examination. Vote of Assembly. His manner of evading it. Whereby I become free. My attempt to get employ with other Printers. He prevents me. Our frequent pleadings before our Father. The final Breach. My Inducements to quit Boston. Manner of coming to a Resolution. My leaving him and going to New York (return to eating flesh); thence to Pennsylvania. The journey, and its events on the Bay, at Amboy. The road. Meet with Dr. Brown. His character. His great work. At Burlington. The Good Woman. On the River. My Arrival at Philadelphia. First Meal and first Sleep. Money left. Emloyment. Lodging. First acquaintance with my afterward Wife. With J. Ralph. With Keimer. Their characters. Osborne. Watson. The Govenor takes notice of me. The Occasion and Manner. His character. Offers to set me up. My return to Boston. Voyage and accidents. Reception. My Father dislikes the proposal. I return New York and Philadelphia. Govenor Burnet J. Collins. The Money for Vernon. The Governor’s Deceit. Collins not finding employment goes to Barbados much in my Debt. Ralph and I go to England. Disappointment of Govenor’s Letters. Colonel French his Friend. Cornwallis’s Letters. Cabbin. Denham. Hamilton. Arrival in England. Get employment. Ralph not. He is an expense to me. Adventures in England. Write a Pamphlet and print 100. Schemes. Lyons. Dr. Pemberton. My diligence, and yet poor through Ralph. My Landlady. Her character. Wygate. Wilkes. Cibber. Plays. Books I borrowed. Preachers I heard. Redmayne. At Watt’s. Temperance. Ghost. Conduct and Influence among the Men. Persuaded by Mr. Denham to return with him to Philadelphia and be his clerk. Our voyage and arrival. My resolutions in Writing. My Sickness. His Death. Found D.R. married. Go to work again with Keimer. Terms. His ill usage of me. My Resentment. Saying of Decow. My Friends at Burlington. Agreement with H. Meredith to set up in Partnership. Do so. Success with the Assembly. Hamilton’s Friendship. Sewell’s History. Gazette. Paper money. Webb. Writing Busy Body. Breintnal. Godfrey. His Character. Suit against us. Offer of my Friends, Coleman and Grace. Continue the Business, and M. goes to Carolina. Pamphlet on Paper Money. Gazette from Keimer. Junto credit; its plan and utility. Children. Almanac. The use I made of it. Great industry. Constant study. Father’s Remark and Advice upon Diligence. Carolina Partnership. Learn French and German. Journey to Boston after ten years. Affection of my Brother. His Death, and leaving me his Son. Project of subordinate Juntos. Write occasionally in the papers. Success in Business. Fire companies. Engines. Go again to Boston in 1743. See Dr. Spence. Whitefield. My connection with him. His generosity to me. My returns. Church Differences. My part in them. Propose a College. Not then prosecuted. Propose and establish a Phlisophical Society. War. Electricity. My first knowledge of it. Partnership with D. Hall, &c. Dispute in Assembly upon Defence. Project for it. Plain Battery built. New Castle. My influence in the Council. Colors, Devices, and Mottos. Ladies’ Military Watch. Quakers chosen of the Common Council. Put in the commission of the peace. Logan fond of me. His Library. Appointed Postmaster-General. Chosen Assemblyman. Commissioner to treat with Indians at Carlisle and at Easton. Project and establish Academy. Pamphlet on it. Journey to Boston. At Albany. Plan of union of the colonies. Copy of it. Remarks upon it. It fails, and how. Journey to Boston in 1754. Disputes about it in our Assembly. My part in them. New Govenor. Disputes with him. His character and sayings to me. Chosen Alderman. Project of Hospital. My share in it. Its success. Boxes. Made a Commissioner of the Treasury. My commission of my drawing. Made Colonel. Parade of my Officers. Offence to Proprietor. Assistance to Boston Ambassadors. Journey with Shirley &c. Meet with Braddock. Assistance to him. To the Officers of his Army. Furnish him with Forage. His concessions to me and character of me. Success with my Electrical Experiments. Medal sent me. Present Royal Society and Speech of President. Denny’s Arrival and Courtship to me. His character. My service to the Army in the affair of Quarters. Disputes about the Proprietor’s Taxes continued. Project for paving the City. I am sent to England. Negotiation there. Canada delenda est. My Pamphlet. Its reception and effect. Projects drawn from me concerning the Conquest. Acquaintance made and their service to me- Mrs. S.M. Small, Sir John P., Mr. Wood, Sargent Strahan, and others. Their characters. Doctorate from Edinburgh, St. Andrew’s. Doctorate from Oxford. Journey to Scotland. Lord Leicester. Mr. Prat. De Grey. Jackson. State of Affairs in England. Delays. Eventful Journey into Holland and Flanders. Agency from Maryland. Son’s appointment. My Return. Allowance and thanks. Journey to Boston. John Penn, Governor. My conduct toward him. The Paxton Murders. My Pamphlet. My march to Philadelphia. Governor retires to my House. My conduct. Sent out to the Insurgents. Turn them back. Little thanks. Disputes revived. Resolutions against continuing under Proprietary Government. Another Pamphlet. Cool thoughts. Sent again to England with Petition. Negotiation there. Lord H. His character. Agencies from New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts. Journey into Germany, 1766. Civilities received there. Gottingen observations. Ditto into France 1767. Ditto in 1769. Entertainment there at the Academy. Introduced the the King and the Mesdames, Mad. Victoria and Mrs. Lamagnon. Duc de Chaulnes, M. Beaumont. Le Roy, D’Alibard, Nollet. See Journals. Holland. Reprint my papers and add many. Books presented to me from many authors. My Book translated into French. Lightening Kite. Various Discoveries. My manner of prosecuting that Study. King of Denmark invites me to dinner. Recollect my father’s proverb. Stamp Act. My opposition to it. Recommendation of J. Hughes. Amendment of it. Examination in Parliament. Reputation it gave me. Caressed by Ministry. Charles Townsend’s Act. Opposition to it. Stoves and chimney plates. Armonica. Acquaintance with Ambassadors. Russian Intimation. Writing in newspapers.  Glasses from Germany. Grant of Land in Nova Scotia. Sickness. Letters to America returned hither. The consequences. Insurance Office. My character. Costs me nothing to be civil to inferiors; a good deal to be submissive to superiors, &c., &c. Farce of Perpetual Motion. Writing for Jersey Assembly. Hutchinson’s Letters. Temple. Suit in Chancery. Abuse before the Privy Council. Lord Hillsborough’s character and conduct. Lord Dartmouth. Negotiation to prevent the War. Return to America. Bishop of St. Asaph. Congress. Assembly. Committee of Safety. Chevaux-de-frise. Sent to Boston, to the Camp. To Canada, to Lord Howe. To France. Treaty, &c.

Sandwich Boarding

February 24, 2009

posted by caroline picard

NewCity wrote a little something about the business license situation, which is much appreciated. You can see what they wrote by going here.

I’ve got a second court date this Friday to look into the matter — what I anticipate will result in some kind of conclusive action. At that time I’ll be sending out a larger, longer email with details and whatever else, so stay tuned. In the meantime I continue to talk to people at City Hall- so. On va voir.

Man on a Wire

February 24, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

Q. Why do you guys think [the film and Philipps walk] captures the imagination and inspires everyone across the globe?

James Marsh: I can only speak for myself and that’s my reaction too, when I encountered the story in all its details and its epic dimensions. It was utterly captivating and I think the challenge then was to get the film to be as close to the experience of the people doing this and of Philippe in particular and to match and measure yourself against the excitement and the setbacks and the human drama that was generated by Felipe’s impossible dream, which ends up being, of course, possible.

Philippe Petit: I completely agree with all of what you say. It’s unbelievable and it’s impossible and probably that’s why I did it.

Q. that takes such courage. That takes such boldness. Did you have an idea of the audacity at the time?

PP: Oh yes, yes, yes. Audacity comes with a good dose of arrogance and I have no problem fitting myself with that. But truly, it was a dream, this was almost like a fairytale, a long, long dream. From the moment I got the idea to the moment I stepped on the wire, it was almost six and a half years. So usually people dream not that long. So yes, it’s an amazing adventure–and on the screen, it catches you with drama tears, laughter. So, it’s an important work.

Q. Now you fulfilled this dream back in the 70s. What’s life like after that, [after] you do the world’s ultimate feat?

PP: Well, if I was collecting the largest and highest and the longest, I would have killed myself after the Twin Towers. But, I don’t have a career. I am a poet, I am a man who grabs life like this, galloping, and I have no problem, and I had no problem, after the World Trade Center, to concentrate on my next dream, even if it was not a highest or longest walk. I have done some very beautiful high-wire walks that were very intimate in a small theatre. So I am not collecting the gigantic, I am collecting the inspiring and the beautiful.

Q. I see you as an artist, and you’re sacrificed a lot for your art. Can you address that?

PP: No, no, no. I am not to be taken into pity and I do not sacrifice. Life is too short to do what I want, so I have to actually decide (what) will I do for my miserable 24 hours a day? But no, I go from project to project with bromides, with avidity and with a certain childlike way of seeing the world, and certainly with the idea that nothing is impossible.

Q. When you were planning this great adventure, did you have any idea how many people you’d inspire?

PP: No, you know, I never thought of the impact, of the after-world. Would they cut my head? Would they put me 20 years, would they cut the wire while I was on the wire? I never thought of the consequences, and I think that a poet, an artist, should not think about the after, they should think about the during, and so I concentrated before on the doing, I concentrated on making it happen and presenting myself on that wire.

But then after that, I had a wonderful gift, that people would tell me how I offered them a gift and how inspired they were. So it had not dawned on me actually, how I would inspire people actually, until this day.

Q. So you did it for the art.

PP: Absolutely.

The death of John Updike

February 23, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

I found out recently that John Updike has passed away. To that end, it seemed worthwhile to point you to a couple of sites, the first an obituary, the second an interview. And then of course, there is an older interview above, about ten years old, with Charlie Rose.

I’ll be interested to see how his books fair in the coming years. Something strange and fascinating seems to happen when a creator, whether of books, a company, a family or even a life leaves us.

Another Item of Lust

February 23, 2009


Turkey Valentine

by Marion Cook

Have you ever seen a turkey strut his stuff? First of all, a turkey is a big bird, and they get even bigger when they fluff all their feathers out as they do when displaying. The wide, brown, blunt edges are set on end and vibrating. His tail fans out. From the front he looks full, textured, alive. From the back, his arched tail is rather exposed; you can see under the facade, as it were. His wattle becomes red, filled with blood, almost covering his face and giving his little beady eyes a sort of silly look. Most impressively, he will hold his wings out stiffly to the side, like a body builder who is too thick to let his arms hang naturally. The very tips drag in the dirt, tracing out circles as he spins to face the ladies. Best of all, he will make his own percussion, a sort of huffy snort, very imperious. They’ll show off for pretty much anything that’s standing still or running away.

So a friend of mine once worked on a farm, and on that farm there was a turkey. This turkey fell in love with an old blanket hanging on the fence. He was a little misguided, perhaps lonely, certainly frustrated. He would slowly glide past, first showing off his left side, then his right. Shaking his feathers, pounding the dirt with his scaly feet, he no doubt thought he was making headway with what to his poor eyesight, addled by turkey needs, was a very shy but unprotesting admirer. Eventually he would jump up and have a go at it, awkwardly, but with much ardor. Could be worse.

But this story is a tragedy. Not long after the old blanket had been serving as an object of desire, it was thrown onto the garbage heap and burned. My friend says that poor turkey paced back and forth by the fireside, distressed. Can a turkey’s heart be broken? In any case, he says that it goes to show that you can fall in love with anything you’re screwing.

posted and written by Caroline Picard

Marginal Notion No. 79032

A new movement of objects and construction. Following on the heels of the organic food movement, where customers found such satisfaction in the unique handmade character of their consumables, customers will find new satisfaction in their environment when they can see how its parts are constructed.

Yes! This is it – the fashion of making. Move away from the modernist – sleek and uniform, and tend instead toward sensibility. With Functional Heuristics, objects are made to tell their purpose, to expose in their very construction the secrets if their functionality. Imagine chair made such that, with a simple study of its form, one can decipher the exact point of weight distribution, its joints etc., or better yet a radio that essentially reveals the way it works. Every object in your home bears its intentions and science on the surface, so that its purpose can be reproduced – in the imagination at least.

Through this line of products the individual can feel at home in the world–no longer alienated from the inner workings of technology.