posted by Caroline Picard

The following is an excerpt from The Saga of the Volsuns, what Wagner’s Ring Cycle was somewhat based on.

There was a man named Gripir, the brother of Sigurd’s mother. Soon after the sword had been made, Sigurd went to meet with Gripir because this uncle could see into the future and knew the fate of men. Sigurd asked Griir how his life would go. For a long time, Gripir was unwilling to answer, but finally, yielding to Sigurd’s fervent pleas, he told him his whole fate, exactly as it later came to pass. And when Gripir had told him these things, as he had asked, Sigurd rode home. Soon afterward he and the Regin met, and Regin said: “Kill Fafnir, as you ahve promised.” Sigurd answered: “I shall do that, but first I must do something else: avenge King Sigmund and my other relatives who fell in that battle.”

It reminded me–I made it a habit for a while to go into a street palm reader whenever I had some extra time, or a few extra dollars. While I haven’t been in a while, I used to go to try and assess how much information such a professional might glean based on what I wore, how I spoke, even my mannerisms. I had a developing theory that the good ones could likely parse a person at first glance, taking such a client apart as any Sherlock Holmes. For instance, did I have a manicure (I did not), did I have a handbag (no), a wedding ring (no), what kind of shoes (sneakers), did I cuss (occasionally and naturally), did I seem nice (mostly); pooling those small details would doubtless lead to any number of likely conclusions about my character, conclusions that could be mentioned, fished out, lead to approval on my side, which would then lead to greater conclusions. In other words, without fully doubting the intuitive prowess of such a fortune teller, I think there is a way to understand the scope and reason for their sensibility. (Obviously, this somewhat limits that scope to a scientific bent, but it seemed like one way that was interesting to consider).
P.S. Speaking of Wagner–has anybody thought about how the XO in Battle Star Galactica is like the one-eyed Wotan?

Minutes (San Francisco)

July 10, 2009



  • At the halfway house at the top of the hill, one recovering who smoked turned to another recovering who smoked, gestured to a third recovering who smoked by himself on the bench in a prostate position with both his hands and arms converging and draped over the crease of his crotch with the cigarette hanging in his mouth and said, “doesn’t he make so much more sense as a tranny?”
  • A gentleman held the door open to an office building for a co-worker who happened to arrive at the same time as him. She looked at him coyly and said “No suit today?” He replied, pleased with himself, “I didn’t know you’d be in at work today.” Secret smiles were had before the elevator.
  • As a man in the wheelchair tried to get off the bus and the ramp of the bus was lowered and the hydraulics of the bus exhaled and the bus kneeled while traffic waited a passenger on the phone said to his quiet mistress “Don’t the handicapped have their own mini-buses for this?”
  • On the 1980’s BBC version of Sherlock Holmes last night, Holmes surprised everyone by falling for a woman named “Irene.”