Lewis Carroll kicked through a 27-yard field goal with 4:30 left to lift the Bulldogs to victory.
If you receive Google News Alerts for “Lewis Carroll,” as we do, you may begin to wonder why our favorite author “dropped back to pass, but never had a chance as Jerod Maddox came flying in on the back side and sacked him to end the half.” Lewis Carroll is the name of the quarterback for the Geneva County Bulldogs, a varsity football team in Hartville, Alabama.
A couple weeks ago, Geneva County left Kinston gimbling in the wabe, with a 9-8 win:
Keep playing, Lewis, we’d love to finally see a Lewis Carroll in college football or the NFL one day!
An article on Libya in last week’s Sunday Times Magazine was topped with this surreal image of an abandoned teacup ride inside Muammar Gaddafi’s compound. The Surreal Ruins of Quaddafi’s Never Never Land made no mention of the improbable amusement park but the image – in which we see a spare teacup yards from the ride as if flung by a mad hatter, or perhaps a large explosion – is a fitting illustration for Robert Worth’s long and disturbing account of confusion and violence in the last days of Gaddafi’s regime.
For more on the teacups, you have to turn to the UK tabloid The Sun. In I played on Mad Dog Gaddafi’s Teacup Ride (August 25) Sun reporter Virginia Wheeler is pictured lounging in a teacup, presumably researching her account of this fairground built for “spoilt grandchildren” and other decadent finds within the Gaddafi compound. The details are few but the photo is pretty priceless (follow the link to see it). Wheeler looks like she is waiting for a few rebels to jump in the other teacups before they all go for a spin. Thanks all the same, but I think I’d rather go to Disneyland.
(Thanks to Alan Tannenbaum for spotting both these articles.)
In yesterday’s online edition of the UK Independent, Rob Sharp, the arts correspondent, reported on a forthcoming book by Dr Louise Joy under the title “Why do adults read children’s literature? Blame modern life.”
As we all know, in Wonderland relationships are entirely straightforward, no-one is self-conscious, and everyone understands each other perfectly. Could Dr. Joy have a point? But how would she explain the appeal of reading about junk food like cakes and comfits?
Sharp does give some room for dissenting voices and he quotes the current UK Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson:
Children’s author Lil Chase compiled a list of her favorite made-up words in the Guardian today. What’s interesting is how many of the words, invented fancifully by literary wordsmiths, have simply become normal English words. ‘Muggle,’ from J.K. Rowling, now is used not only to mean “a non-magical person,” but more widely as being a person outside of some specific interest. Lil Chase lists A.A. Milne’s “heffalump,” Orson Welles’ “ungood,” and others, and of course Carroll:
Cromulent is an amazing word. I can’t believe I didn’t know it before. It’s like the word ‘sesquipedalian,’ which is a long word which means “a long word.”
The great country revival duo, Gillian Welch (with Dave Rawlings), released their first album in almost a decade, The Harrow & the Harvest. (It’s really good.) They went on Fresh Air with Terry Gross to schlep it, and at the end of the show, Gross asked them to play a cover, “to surprise us with a song that we might not think that they like.” They chose Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” and it’s a pretty damned beautiful cover of that song. Starting at 41 minutes into the show, Welch explains why they chose that song, and then their version of it gets cut off for the credits. HOWEVER, naturally, they’re hawking it as a special single on iTunes, for $1.29. Remember what the dormouse said… “That I can’t remember,” said the Hatter.
Lynne Truss, author of the best-selling grammar-romp Eats, Shoots and Leaves, recently appeared on the BBC Radio 4 program “Great Lives” to discuss her fascination with Lewis Carroll. You can listen to the half-hour program at leisure on the BBC iPlayer.
Interviewed by British author Matthew Parris, Truss discusses her life-long fondness for Lewis Carroll – fondness that led her to include him as a character in her 2010 novel Tennyson’s Gift. The interview also features Robin Wilson, author of Lewis Carroll in Numberland and together the trio address questions such as “Dodgson the Mathematician: Was he any good?”. They also do a good-spirited rendition of Alice being introduced to the banquet in Through the Looking-Glass. Matthew Parris plays the pudding.
When I first saw this article about Alice in Sunderland, I thought it might be a forgotten manuscript republished by Michael Everson of Evertype, who has recently released such lost gems as “Clara in Blunderland: A political parody based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland” and “Lost in Blunderland: The further adventures of Clara: A political parody based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland,” as part of Evertype’s boundless library of Wonderland translations and variations. However Alice in Sunderland was just a Fake News release from NewsBiscuit, a website with the tag line “The news before it happens…”
The article ends with Professor Eagleton “continuing his search for the rumoured sequel to Alice Through the Looking Glass describing a hen weekend in Gateshead.”
If your English geography is hazy, Sunderland is a small coastal city within Tyne and Wear in North East England, and the NewsBiscuit article should give you a taste of some of the local color. However, it’s not without its real Carroll connections, and NewsBiscuit is not the first to make the joke. This is a paragraph from the Wikipedia article on Sunderland:
Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland is on amazon.com here. Wikipedia’s sited reference for the claim that Carroll wrote “The Walrus and the Carpenter” at Sunderland is the website englandsnortheast.co.uk, at which I found written:
We normally let this type of article slip by unremarked, but this one was too good. Jerry Della Femina, who writes a column called “Jerry’s Ink” for the Long Island Press, published a rant last week titled “Was Lewis Carroll on Crack?” It is supposed to be a humorous piece about a grandfather suffering through his grandchildren’s school theater (the horror!) But besides his profound point that the Reverend Dodgson was freebasing cocaine, Della Femina’s thesis seems to be that no one likes Alice in Wonderland and no one has ever liked Alice in Wonderland. There’s some sort of conspiracy or vicious cycle dating back more than a century keeping it in the canon. I can think of at least one or two members of the Lewis Carroll Society who would disagree.
I wasn’t expecting postmodern philosophy when I opened the New York Times Opinionator blog this week, but there was filmmaker Errol Morris rambling on about truth, relativity, Jorge Luis Borges and Humpty Dumpty. It appears to be the fourth of a five-part series called “The Ashtray,” no doubt what he was staring into when he starting questioning existence and art. Part Four, “The Author of the Quixote,” is named after Borges’ story about Pierre Menard, a 20th century Frenchman who wrote a book called “Don Quixote,” which has the identical text to Cervantes’ book of the same name. Borges’ book review of it complains that Menard’s 17th Century Spanish seems affected, unlike Cervantes. Read the whole Morris essay here, which drags in a long quote from Through the Looking Glass. “…It addresses the issue: can words mean anything we want them to?” asks Morris. “Humpty-Dumpty is suggesting an ‘authoritarian’ theory of meaning. Words mean whatever I want them to mean. It is easy to see it as an earlier version of ‘The Ashtray Argument.'”
Happy first of March, month of the Mad Hare! “Happy Hare! Happy beyond the lot of many mortals to be mad only once a year!” Read more about the many madnesses of March in The Outlook, Vol. 19, published in January (Why not March? Madness!) 1907, by clicking on the image below.
Wishing you all a little madness this March.
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