The Blog and Turfs

1. How delightful to learn that James Joyce may have invented the word ‘blog’ during a typical conversational ramble in Finnegans Wake! Here it is in context:

Now from Gunner Shotland to Guinness Scenography. Come to the ballay at the Tailors’ Hall. We mean to be mellay on the Mailers’ Mall. And leap, rink and make follay till the Gaelers’ Gall. Awake ! Come, a wake ! Every old skin in the leather world, infect the whole stock company of the old house of the Leaking Barrel, was thomistically drunk, two by two, lairking o’ tootlers with tombours a’beggars, the blog and turfs and the brandywine bankrompers, trou Normend fashion, I have been told down to the bank lean clorks? Some nasty blunt clubs were being operated after the tradition of a wellesleyan bottle riot act and a few plates were being shied about and tumblers bearing traces of fresh porter rolling around, independent of that, for the ehren of Fyn’s Insul, and then followed that wapping breakfast at the Heaven and Covenant, with Rodey O’echolowing how his breadcost on the voters would be a comeback for e’er a one, like the depredations of Scandalknivery, in and on usedtowobble sloops off cloasts, eh? Would that be a talltale too? This was the grandsire Orther. This was his innwhite horse. Sip?

Enough puns for you there? I assume that “blog” is a play on “bog” (and in fact the word “blog” has always seemed to carry an appealing sort of Joycean phlegmatic physicality). Pictured above: an Irish peat bog.

2. Gogol’s Nevsky Prospect.

3. Advocating abortion for mixed-race children was not Richard Nixon’s best moment. And linking to this is not my best moment, but what the hell.

4. A new edition of Richard Hell’s early book The Voidoid, featuring new artwork by Kier Cooke Sandvik.

5. Alfred Leslie was a Cool Man in a Golden Age

6. Shared Worlds is a creative writing summer program at Wofford College in South Carolina, featuring guidance by the likes of Jeff Vandermeer, who has asked five writers to describe their ideal fantasy/science-fiction real-life city.

7. Always a favorite topic around here: Chad Post on paperback, hardcover and paper-over-board book formats.

8. Bolano’s Savage Detectives visualized.

9. Sarah Hall appreciates Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan.

10. Marion Winik on the pitfalls of writing a memoir. Hmmm ….

11. I totally agree with Ed Champion about the joys of Nicholson Baker.

7 Responses

  1. I wonder what Joyce would
    I wonder what Joyce would think of the blogging phenomenon? Sometimes it seems to resemble a bog – everything jumbled together, all content oozing into one murky soup…

    I enjoy reading your blog, and have added you to my blogroll.

  2. I think blog is indeed a play
    I think blog is indeed a play on bog, after reading the original inquiry, which questioned the meaning of “thomistically”, I thought blog was a contraction, missing an apostrophe, of “below log”, which, being moss perhaps, would fit with the turf, the “tumors” of beggars, and the unseemliness of the activities. Bog fits in with that also though.

  3. The Immaculate Compunction Of
    The Immaculate Compunction Of The Functional Dysjunction

    ‘Write titles in your spare time and make big bucks on the internet at a penny per hundred…’

    ‘Have you nothing to say but wish to say it well? Have you been hanging around the political sites ten years too long and gaining nothing but outrage overload with a side of cognitive dissonance?’

    …okayfine, seriously: an hour or more after giggling up ‘litkicks johnny depp’, i could kick myself for not having returned here in years. air. good god, air. okayfine, so i’m not bright, nor particularly a competent writer or even titlesmith, but illustrate? mm hmmm, yas o yas. & hungry for words at that -is catalyse a word?

  4. The ” blog and turfs” are the
    The ” blog and turfs” are the Black and Tans!

  5. Blog also refers to Bloc.
    Blog also refers to Bloc – East Anglican ‘Bloke’. He puns Clontarf(battle site) as claneturf(clean). ‘Turfs’ may also be gamblers@horse-races. Bankrompers are the I.R.A.

  6. Thanks for those tips, James
    Thanks for those tips, James Falconer – I suspect you are correct.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!