Friday, April 4, 2014

The Soft Whirr of the Hygrometer Promises Oxidation of Iron


  • Serendipitously, news of David Letterman's retirement announcement coincides with an urge to bleggalgaze, gives me opportunity to satisfy the second with the above, this blog's Theme Song Seven.
  • James Boyd's hills.
  • How the FBI goes after activists
  • A meditation on America.
  • The decline of Europe.
  • The Pointlessness of Unplugging: Unplugging seems motivated by two contradictory concerns: efficiency and enlightenment. Those who seek efficiency rarely want to change their lives, only to live more productively; rather than eliminating technology, they seek to regulate their use of it through Internet-blocking programs like Freedom and Anti-Social, or through settings like Do Not Disturb. The hours that they spend off the Internet aren’t about purifying the soul but about streamlining the mind. The enlightenment crowd, by contrast, abstains from technology in search of authenticity, forsaking e-mail for handwritten letters, replacing phone calls with face-to-face conversations, cherishing moments instead of capturing them with cameras. Both crowds are drawn to events like the Day of Unplugging, and some members even pay premiums to vacation at black-hole resorts that block the Internet and attend retro retreats that ban electronics. Many become evangelists of such technological abstinence, taking to social media and television, ironically, to share insights from their time in the land of innocence.
  • Not only do I not daydream any longer of detaching my cords, I no longer daydream I ever daydreamed of detaching my cords.
  • The oceanic void.


Albert Goldbarth

The name of his native country pronounced on a distant shore
could not please the ears of a traveller more than hearing
the words “nitrogen,” “oxidation of iron” and “hygrometer.”
—Alexander von Humboldt, nineteenth-century scientist-explorer

When visiting a distant (and imponderable) shire,
one longs to hear the cry “Hygrometer!
Fresh hygrometer for sale!” Yes, and when the fair
sex sidles close and coyly murmurs “nitrogen”
into a burly masculine ear, I guarantee you: the translation
is very easy. The allurements of a local siren,

whispering the kind of patois a traveler like Lord Byron
favors, never fail to comfort, and to reassure,
evoking pleasant memories of one’s own beloved hygrometer
at home, kept fresh in Cosmoline and camphor
and awaiting one’s rearrival back in his native xenon and nitrogen.
Without these occasional reminiscences, any translation

from nation to nation, tongue to tongue, becomes a translation
difficult to sustain. I think of my grandmother: “We're not hirin’
today” “Go away” “Dumb Jew”—her share
of the language that greeted her here in the land of alien hygrometer
and freedom, where she was only one more funny-skirted for-
eigner yearning to hear a lulling Hungarian nitrogen

hum her to sleep. Eventually, of course, the American nitrogen
sufficed. Her daughter could speak, in free translation,
both uranium and argon; and her granddaughter gigs with Fire ’n
Ice, a skinhead punk-grunge group that performs in sheer
black nighties and clown wigs—she plays mean electric hygrometer
in the first set and then, for a twofer,

(very American, that) plays paper-and-comb. Far
out. She’s so fluent in various World Wide Webbery that nitrogen
in a thousand different inflections is her birthright, and almost any translation,
mind to mind, gender to gender, is second nature. “I earn
my keep, I party, I sleep” is her motto. Though she’s for-
tunate in having a lover who’s CEO at Hygrometer,

Potassium, Klein & Wong: it helps to pay the “hygrometer
man” when he knocks at the door. I won’t say that they fear
this guy exactly, but he’s a major badass nitrogen-
sucking cyberwired ninja-kicking shitheel (or, translation:
call him Sir). It makes one pine for a land where the birds all choir in
sweetly trilling melodies on a flower-scented shore,

and a translation sings all night. Row gen-
tly toward it. The tender forests sigh, and the soft whirr
of the hygrometer promises oxidation of iron.


  1. ms. cluck's song of hanging up the phone ..repeats ..of i love my job ..was my theme song on my gone myspac',said the eau

    1. it will be hard, very very , to not go look on some of these links ..on this day ,of the life of plants ,thoughts of what is coming from brian cox of where attenbourgh was wanting ..but not able to go ..of see ..of his minds able , hard not to look very ,i will bind my hands as i do and dance away (john h.,davidly ) ,thank you j.

    2. another ..came to mind .. in my binds here .. -of cluck -,drums ,georgia - share that one with davidly some day ,please , or better still send it now to him and say from anne ,please, i can not attach with these new found functions of the iced underpinnings.. .

    3. and . ".we throw our shadows down , we must throw our shadows down , it's how we get around " of the on line.. why,that you have noted above not able to read yet ,saved something of my life last night , that song , said mind swim of the yo octo. of the next day