CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 18, 1994
Rep. Bill Archer (R-Tex.) suggests placing children of the indigent in foster care (Nov. 11). Doesn't he realize that this would merely shift the taxpayer "burden" of caring for these children from one government agency to another? I suggest that he and his fellow Republicans take a serious look at "A Modest Proposal" satirically offered by Jonathan Swift in the 18th Century--leave the poor out in the cold to starve and sell their young children to the wealthy as a source of food.
March 9, 1987 |
As I noted here the other day, the famous journalist Ambrose Bierce, in his little book "Write It Right," urged against the use of the word bug : " Bug for beetle , or for anything. Do not use it." I observed that perhaps Bierce had never heard of the following charming verse: Little bugs have littler bugs Upon their backs to bite 'em, And littler bugs have littler bugs And on ad infinitum.
August 24, 1991 |
The story goes that any 18th-Century worshiper who snored during the sermon at St. Patrick's Cathedral here was in peril of waking to find Jonathan Swift looming above him in his pulpit. It's a legend worthy of the author of "Gulliver's Travels," and may well be true. The pulpit, mounted on wheels, is still in the cathedral. So is Swift. Swift is buried beneath the floor near the southwest porch, where everyone goes in and out, many of them drawn to Swift.
October 31, 2010 |
Fifty yards from the main set of "Gulliver's Travels," in which he plays the title role, Jack Black is sprawling on a chair outside his large trailer, having assumed a facial expression familiar to those who know his big-screen work. With his trademark manic stare and one eyebrow raised sky high, he looks both bewildered and amazed. But right now, Black isn't playing for laughs. He's trying to explain to a visitor the camera technology that allows him to play a hero who is a giant among tiny men and women.
February 4, 1996 |
His tangled brown hair hanging past his shoulders and his clothes mussed and dirty, Ted Danson is hiding in an English stable. He has a crazed look in his eyes, no doubt put there by the eight strange years that his character, shipwrecked doctor Lemuel Gulliver, has spent in Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the land of the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos.
November 10, 1996 |
LATE BLOOMERS by Brendan Gill (Artisan Press: $14.95, 167 pp.). Col. Sanders, Coco Chanel, Jonathan Swift and Pope John XXIII, all share the experience of having come into their own (in a rather showy way) late in life. But Brendan Gill is coy on the subject of how late is late. Ages are rarely mentioned in these brief portraits (photographs accompanied by a page of biography). "To find oneself is plainly to have been lost," writes Gill in the foreword.