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Bonfire Night
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Happy Bonfire Night! (A.k.a. Guy Fawkes'.) Fireworks have been exploding all along the horizon in every direction since 6pm. (Yes, it was pitch-black by then. How depressing...) There are blazing bonfires on the hills (all contained, thank goodness) as every neighborhood celebrates. It's all completely over-blown and noisy and wonderful, but very scary for dogs. I gave up on our walk into town when one particularly huge one exploded with a bang just above us, and Nika screeched and leapt backwards. She ran most of the way home. The fireworks are beautiful, though...


I've been reading Charles Ford's book Cosi? Sexual Politics in Mozart's Operas, as research for my thesis. In his summary of Viennese late-eighteenth-century history, I came across a wonderful anecdote on censorship:

"Perhaps the most obvious sign of Joseph's contradictory liberalism was the inclusion of the 1765 Catalogue of Forbidden Books in its own register just two years later, when it became clear that it was being used as a guide to exciting critical ideas." (Ford, p.95)

Ahh, how some things never change....


And just to end this entry with one more fragment...I've been on a major Iain M. Banks kick in the past five days. I've enjoyed all of his lit fic books (especially The Crow Road, The Business and Dead Air) but for some reason I'd never picked up any of his science fiction novels before. They're fantastic! Funny and smart and wonderful. I loved Inversions, which I read over the weekend, and now I'm reading Excession, which features a hilariously awful alien race self-titled the Affront, which is kind of a mix of the worst stereotypes of huntin', ridin' British aristocracy and the excesses of Tsarist Russia. One perfect quote:

"Hearty but horrible; that was the Affront. 'Progress through pain!' It was an Affronter saying. Genar-Hofoen had even heard Fivetide say it. He couldn't recall exactly, but it had probably been followed by a bellowed, 'Ho ho ho!'"

Hee hee. C'mon, read it. You'll like it. Really.

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