Friday, April 29, 2005

Tonka Man

A colleague surreptitiously left this on my desk a while back. I have never really figured out why.

Why is it that the Blogger spell checker (yes, the one for blogs hosted by Blogger) does not contain the words blogger, blog, blogs, blogging, or blogspot?

I had a disappointing apple at lunch today. It is hard to describe the crestfallen feeling I get when, instead of a crunch, I get that spongy apple texture.

Apologies to all of you Dr. Who fans out there, but I tried to watch the new Dr. Who and I really think it sucked. I'll admit that I did not see any of the original episodes, save a few seconds here or there, so maybe that has something to do with it. Or, maybe it was just a bad episode. The good news it that I have avoiding adding another hour of TV viewing to my schedule.

Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Blogging Etiquette

I am still trying to decide if I like Blogosphere or World Live Web better. But, that is besides the point.

Do you ever feel like you are an intruder when you read a blog? I visit many blogs and comment on some. But, there are times when I feel I have trespassed on a private conversation, albeit one held in public. Maybe it's a group of friends who routinely comment back and forth on each other's blogs. In any event, I often feel that posting a comment would be an invasion. What do you think of that?

That's all I have today.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Thoughts, Comments, and Questions for Today

1) Stephen Harper does not have Prime Ministerial hair. And, it's my firm belief that he looks like a Husky.

2) Why hasn't someone invented a product that stops one's hair from growing. You know, so that it goes into stasis?

3) BlogTO is better than Metroblogging Toronto; Torontoist is better than BlogTO.

4) Memo to Jack Layton: shave off your moustache.

5) Seinfeld was the best television show, ever.

6) Survivor is better than Gilligan's Island.

7) Why do certain phrases go into disuse. Like, whatever happened to 'awesome' and 'let's blow this popsicle stand'?

8) IMHO, Charles is fit to be Queen...I mean King.

9) Why would anyone buy a PT Cruiser?

10) Yes, I'd like to go to the moon.

11) The Hubble should be saved.

12) If Bruce Cockburn ran for elected office, I would vote for him.

13) I don't miss hockey

14) I thought I would have been 'discovered' by now. I thought I'd be walking down the street some day and hear someone say "look at those jowls!" I'd be cast immediately.

15) Leaf blowers are stupid.

16) I use the Oxford Comma.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Best of Zydeco Fish, 2003 (because I forgot to do this at the end of 2003)

In the shower this morning, dealing with enough shampoo for ten men - I just had a haircut and took way too much - I had this idea. It's a recap, sort of.

Zydeco Fish, the blog, was born on Friday July 11, 2003. Zydeco Fish was the title of one of the first poems I had published. It's about a rebel fish who upsets the order of the oceans. Well, that's my memory of it.

Although I have kept a journal for years (more about that), I wasn't writing as much in it as I had been. So, I decided to start blogging and I decided that I wanted to be anonymous, thinking that I would be provocative and fairly uncensored, like one would be in a personal journal. That never happened. Zydeco Fish seemed like a good alter ego and cover. Now, a few people know who I really am.

So, I thought I'd review the six months of the blog, from July to December 2003. That's easy since I posted nothing in December and very little overall.

Here are some posts I like from that period. Oh, and most can't be commented on because I didn't have comments turned on and then I started using Haloscan and then switched to Blogger.

Hey Homo! - Sesame Street and subliminal messaging
Love You Forever makes me puke - a vicious attack on a children's classic
Arthur Koestler - a review of Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind by David Cesarini
The Decline of Radio - a lament on the state of North American radio

And, my favourite post was simply: "
Leaf blowers are stupid." Trust me, they are.

P.S. My fly was down during the whole of my cycle in this morning.

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Cannibalism and You

Did you know that Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice so that the rice can "digest pesticides and industrial chemicals"? Two years ago, it was revealed that Chinese scientists were experimenting with genetically-modified crops using human genes. Now, in mid-west USA, experiments are underway with GM crops that are intended to help fight diseases. These also contain human genes. Those who follow the GM debate are aware that there is little way to prevent contamination with conventional crops. Roundup Ready (tm) Canola has found its way into regular Canola and unapproved GM corn has shown up in stores.

Applied Phytologics Incorporated, an American corporation, has produced a GM rice crop containing proteins identified as human lactoferrin and human lysozyme, commonly found in breast milk, bile and tears. I am going to be sick. Would eating any of this make you a cannibal?

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Friday, April 22, 2005

My Daughter's Toy Iron

Another from my recent colour series (prev pic in this series).

I just love this picture. Do you?

Camera: Nikon FM; 50mm f1.8 lens
Lighting: Tungsten
Film: Kodak Professional Portra 100T
© 2004 Zydeco Fish

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Lunchtime Walk

Music World (a generally lame-ass store) has an inventory clear-out sale that seems only to apply to about 3 dozen DVDs. So much for that. But, I noticed that MW classified Leonard Cohen's latest Disc as "adult contemporary." I wonder what Leonard would think of that? I have reviewed that CD (briefly) and concluded that he might be getting old. Anyway, he is launching a world wide tour, so that is good news. Oh, and a new book from Lenny is on the way. So, that is more good news.

Back out on Yonge Street, I passed a guy standing over his little shitty boom box (remember when these were called ghetto blasters?). It seemed that he was bent on adding to the general noise pollution. Stairway to Heaven was blaring as I walked by. I couldn't conceive of a reason for him to be standing there offering distorted music as if he was proselytizing the passersby to the joys of Led Zeppelin. I wonder if he was pissing off the Dundas & Yonge bagpiper. It was sort of like stereo wars, but only one guy had a minor stereo.

HMV has a sale. No, this one is not the misnamed Biggest Sale Ever, which happens with alarming frequency, and it is always disappointing. They have a whack of CDs for $4.99. Trouble is, I can't imagine anyone wanting any of them, unless you are into the top hits from 1978 or, bizarrely, need a copy of a BTO CD or perhaps a b-list classical recording.

And this unrelated thought:

Although the new Pope has two rather unfortunate nick names (God's Rottweiler and Panzerkardinal), I have to say that I am mildly jealous, for I am notoriously difficult to nick name.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Mixture of Things


It was one of those meetings where the question "where do you see yourself in ten years" came up. I wanted to say that I hoped to win a lottery and that I would be indulging my materialistic and hedonistic fantasies in several parts of the globe. You know: cars, houses, condos, toys, devices, useless things, objets d'art, travel, wine & chocolate for breakfast, wearing a silk dressing gown all day, a maid & butler service, a chauffeur, a live-in masseuse, parrots, things made of precious metals, jacuzzis, did I mention electronic thingys?, video phones, bean bag chairs, a pear tree, and cherries any time I want.

Instead, I gave a vague answer. "Oh, I don't really know. I'm just trying to do the best job I can in my current job." It seems I'm on someone's list as a candidate for a job no one wants.


This reminds me of Star Wars (for some reason). Qatar is replacing boy camel jockeys with robots. Yes, you read that right. In all seriousness, these child jockeys are really slaves. So, instead of using small willing people, Qatar did the obvious thing: they switched to robots. All riders will be robots by 2007.


Believe it or not, April 20th is Look Alike Day. (Yesterday was garlic day; tomorrow is kindergarten day). I'm looking forward to Friday, 'cause it's National Jelly Bean Day. Oh, and April 30th is Hairstyle Appreciation Day. Seems like a good day for a haircut. Of course, these days have American origins. I want to know if there's a bacon day.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Godfather of Figure Skating

In my dream last night, the world (and I) found out that Neil Young is an accomplished figure skater. I was present, at ice level, for his return to the sport after his recent aneurism. What I appreciated about Neil, the figure skater, was that he challenged the conventions of dress: he dressed in denim. There were no sequins, no frills, nothing shiny or white or ruffled. It was just rustic worn denim with skates that had a distictive dusty cowboy look. He was unshaven with mutton chop sideburns. The trouble was, the crowd did not cooperate.

They banged on the boards, chanting "Neil, Neil, Neil." He required quiet, and the crowd wasn't listening. I began to worry that he would not perform, that he would not skate. I woke up or my dreams moved on to other territory.

So, that's how the Godfather of Grunge became the Godfather of Figure Skating.

Although this was a weird dream, it is less weird than my Lou Reed Dream, I think.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Kill The Goat

So, I was cycling north on Yonge Street on Friday night, minding my own business, feeling the spring in my flowing mane of hair - I really do need a cut - and getting pissed at the peds who step off the curb because they either assess traffic conditions with their ears or they don't care if they get hit by a bike. It happened once to me: a pedestrian didn't even bother to look and I veered but still hit her.

And then, just as I had passed a guy who thrust himself right in front of me, some dude let go a belch that sounded like it came from the bowels of hell. I could feel it, stopped breathing so that I wouldn't taste it or breathe any of it in. No sooner had I overcome that trauma when I saw and heard another guy make an obnoxious horking noise (I know, hork is not a nice word). It was so loud that I thought he had snorted his nose into his throat. In a panic, I swerved just as his head turned towards the road and a wad of stuff came flying and landed on the road beside me. I had flashbacks to Montgomery Burns spitting out a chunk of the three-eyed fish. It all happened in slow motion.

At that point, I realized that one thing could have been added to this outstanding post (The Difference Between Men and Women) over at Kill The Goat. Women don't usually belch and spit in public, or at least not with the pleasure it seems to give men.

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Blogger sucks (sometimes)

I just typed a longish and maybe funny post, and then lost it. Some server error toasted it. I am not happy right now.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Remember the Cold War?

This is part of an advertisement from 1965. Note the spy theme. There's a camera, deceptively described as "Instant Photography." Yeah, right.

I love those two nifty anti-spy gadgets. There's the Secret Agent 0/0/9 - "Enemy aliens, spies and subversive characters, your days are numbered" - and the cunningly-devised Secret Sam Spy-Catching Kit, which comes with a camera, rifle attachment, pistol, silencer, periscope, and message missile. It's not hard to tell that the Cuban Missile Crisis happened three years before this advertisement was printed.

I guess I am feeling nostalgic today.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Battle of the Alarm Clocks

1) Clocky, the Robotic Alarm Clock

A grad student at MIT has created a robotic alarm clock - called Clocky - that runs away and hides after it goes off, so that one cannot hit the snooze button. Gauri Nanda, the inventor, said: "It is programmed to tell the motors to move randomly, to generate random speeds and directions so that the clock ends up in a new place every day."

I have to say that the most perplexing thing to me is why a graduate student would go to such lengths to get out of bed. Having been there, I would say that being a grad student is a good excuse for sleeping. Anyway, I have this theory that there is little one can do to rouse an oversleeper. So, I imagine that people will keep hard objects near their beds to hurl at the clock, and may even purchase shotguns to hunt it down with.

2) SleepSmart, the Smart Alarm Clock

In other alarm clock news, grad students at Brown University have invented a clock - called SleepSmart - that wakes people during their lightest sleep cycle. This one was invented by Eric Shashoua. One must wear a headband with electrodes that then passes sleep cycle information wirelessly to the clock. They say: "By using SleepSmart, you will never wake up feeling tired again."

I am not sure if this qualifies as an alarm clock. Apparently, you program it to wake you by a certain time, but what happens if you do not enter a light sleep cycle by that time?

My Analysis

I feel we are diverting too much attention to devices that get us out of bed. What we really need to do is figure out how we can do our jobs from our beds or while we are sleeping. I have really good ideas at night, honest.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Self Portrait #4 (OK, just kidding)

Knoop (from a recent colour series)
Camera: Nikon FM; 50mm f1.8 lens
Lighting: Tungsten
Film: Kodak Professional Portra 100T
© 2004 Zydeco Fish

I do not like clowns.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Keyword Obsession

I'll admit that I am fascinated by knowing which keyword searches brought people to this blog. I have posted twice on this (once; twice). Why, for example, do you think that two people were searching for web sites with the phrase "Decapitated Rabbit"? If you do a Google search on Kool Moo Dee, I have two of the top five hits? Clearly, he has sunk into total oblivion. And, I can't even take credit for the hits: the guy's name appears in a comment submitted by a reader.

The real lesson is that I ought to take the hint and start a new website or websites catering to some of the searchers' keen interests. Those appear to be Sagittarius traits, the most common keyword used, followed by cheatinghousewifeservices. I have two clear paths ahead of me now.

By the way, some of the others searches were:

01) tv twenty minute workout
02) grecce mp3
03) CBC commentary when perdita Felicien fell at the 2004 olympic games
04) marineland jingle
05) zydeco bittorrent
06) listen canadian tire "i'll start with you
07) leonard cohen nobel
08) www smoothy street fights
09) "beatrice ardisson"
10) "edna mode rules"
11) Pontiac "Say that I want you"
12) "say that i want you" pontiac
13) Review "Going to New Orleans" Charles Tidler
14) wakefield brewster 2005
15) pholde arc review
16) shane wiebe spare tire
17) you and i were meant to fly
18) "human harp"
19) Icefields the novel

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Questions for a Monday

1) Why is Train 48 still on-the-air?.

2) Wouldn't it be cool if people had tails?

3) For the guys who wear y-fronts, do you use the specially- designed access point, or simply lift Mr. Johnson over the waistband?

4) Someone please tell me why one entry door of some buildings is often locked when there are double doors? Why have two doors if you are going to keep one locked? The people exiting have to negotiate with the people entering, and it just slows everything down

5) Isn't it a good thing, from an aesthetic point of view, that Charles and Camilla never had children?

6) Why, when I get an average of 38 page loads per day, have I only ever received a maximum of 8 comments?

7) Why does it please me immensely that Tiger Woods won the Masters, especially given that I am not even a golf fan?

8) Why have the Tories, according to the Toronto Star, surged ahead? I mean, if you are upset with the Liberals and the AdScam thing, I understand, although I think it''s a little overblown. But, why run to the Tories? This is a party that opposes gay marriage and freedom of choice. Stephen Harper is perhaps the most right wing federal party leader this county has ever seen. We don't need a Bush disciple. Remember, Harper would have sent our troops to Iraq.

9) Have you ever thought of changing your name and, if so, to what?

10) What else should I have asked?

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Star Trek: The New Voyages

Well, it seems that everyone is talking about Star Trek these days, even those people who claim to hate it. Just as we are saying goodbye to the mediocre Enterprise, I found out about the New Voyages. I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing. The acting is marginally better than that found in pornographic movies, but not quite as good as that of the original series. I suppose that, for what it is, the acting is entirely suitable. I'll avoid a long discourse on casting and other finer points, mostly because I bailed after the first act of one episode. Perhaps I can just pose a question. What the hell is up with Kirk's hair?

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Self Portrait #3 (self portrait #2)

At the risk of possibly giving away my age, I offer this self-portrait, the most revealing so far. I took this many years ago, but I am not saying how many :-)

Camera: Minolta XG-M; 50mm F1.7 lens
Film: Illford (I think)
Developer: I can't remember
© 2005 Zydeco Fish

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No Soup for You!: Soup Nazi heads north

Torontoist recently reported on an Ottawa Sun article about an Ottawa guy who has acquired sole Canadian distribution rights for Al Yeganeh's soups, made at Soup Kitchen International. I guess that there will be lots of Seinfeld fans eager to try the Soup Nazi soups.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

My Favourite Website

Imagine a website that had free music, free films, free software, and free books.

I do have a fav website. I have a few. I like Arts & Letters Daily. That's cool. I like Allmusic. That's cool too. I like Space and, well, there are too many others to mention. But, there is one that is my favourite. And that site is the Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive describes itself as "A digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form." What's cool is that it is free and growing daily. Imagine free access to software, including such bizarre things as Donkey Kong 64 replay, all 13 hours and 20 minutes. There's text, like the Million Book Project, Project Gutenberg, and a Children's Library of 1477 titles.

But wait, there's more. You get a moving images collection, including such titles as Reefer Madness and Sex Madness and much much more. The archive has over 2000 films from the Prelinger Archives. If you want to re-live US election madness 2004, you have your choice of 677 films. It's really amazing. It has Universal Newsreels, all 617 episodes of PBS's Computer Chronicles, Mosaic Middle East News, Independent News, etc., etc. You can stream the videos or download them.

The archive is also home of the Way Back Machine. This is where you would go to get an image of CNN's home page on any date starting in June 2000. Remember this?

The best part for me are the Audio files. There is tons of free music here, licensed under the Creative Commons. Finally, we have sanity in the copyright world. The creative commons operates a flexible copyright scheme. As a result, a whole whack of music is available, free. From Netlabels to open source recordings, and a live music archive of almost 22,000 shows. There is a huge amount of free music. I just downloaded Cisfinitum and Edwin Morris and Mogwai and Axiomatic Integration and Orphax and more.

The Internet Archives seeks to become a home "of the literary 'orphans' (works whose owners are hard to find)" in a digital age. They have filed suit to entrench this view. You can read more about that here.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If I Were Pope

My father advised me to never discuss religion or politics with friends. Today, I am not heeding his advice.

I must admit that the Pope selection process fascinates me, even though I am not Catholic. Maybe it was the three-Pope year of 1978 (Paul VI to John Paul I to John Paul II) that had something to do with it. I recall the rising smoke signaling that the voting was over and the choices made. The whole thing was mysterious and it seemed that I was watching history. Add to that the fascination I have with what secrets the Vatican has. I really wonder what is archived there, just what, exactly, is in Vatican library.

On my cycle in this morning, just as I was cruising through Queen's Park, I thought, what would I do if I were Pope? In truth, there are probably 5 or 6 billion people on this planet with a stronger right to claim the title than I, but I feel I could move the church into the 21st century. No one with even the faintest odds at being Pope, I suggest, has the guts to make some much needed changes.

I would end the Papal oppression against personal freedom, by endorsing birth control and the right to choose, sanctifying same-sex marriage, and permitting the clergy to marry. That's just for starters. Many churches are experiencing a mass exodus. It's a slow secular revolution, except in a Latin America and even Cuba, and, as we know, the United States - where the bible belt stretches far and wide - and the middle east - where Fundamentalist Islam is still on the rise. Doesn't it make sense that it we eliminate organized religion, we eliminate one of history's most violent battlegrounds?

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

TrouttheCat told Zydeco Fish about Guzzlefish and it got me thinking about collections, collectors, and gender. At times, I have wondered if obsessive collecting is a psychiatric disorder (and I say that knowing that I have tons of CDs, a camera collection, and an inherited stamp collection). I don't think there is a collecting disorder condition in the DSM-IV, aside from bag ladies, perhaps. And that leads me to my next point: men get away with collecting anything and, I think, fewer women collect things. Maybe it's just that I know few women who collect things.

Anyway, all of that is by way of introduction to online collections. Guzzlefish allows you to create an online database of your DVDs, CDs, and games. There is another one, which is more of a trading community, called SonicSwap. They are interesting, but I found that so many artists in my CD collection were missing, it would take ages to upload song titles and cover art.

Am I wrong about the gender of collectors?

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Yet another picture, 'cause I'm lazy and can't think of anything else to post.
Infrared Tree Series; High Park, 2003 (prev infrared pic)

Camera: Nikon FM, 50mm F1.8 lens
Film: Kodak HEI High Speed Infrared Film
Developer: Dektol
© 2003 Zydeco Fish

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Monday, April 04, 2005

This here music mash up the nation
This here music cause a sensation

The Legacy Edition - 25 Years after London Calling (instead of a Juno rant)

I bought London Calling in 1979, which was a good year for music, at least for me. I know, dear readers, that some of you were too young to remember much of 1979, but that was the year I found XTC, The Clash, Pink Floyd, and a host of others, some of whom have not aged well (but I won't mention those). London Calling, I believe, was the best album to come out that year (followed closely by Leonard Cohen's Recent Songs). After all of these years, I would rank London Calling as one of the top five rock records of all time. It is, beyond any doubt, a rock and roll masterpiece.

The cover picture screams punk - Paul Simonon about to smash his Fender bass. But even on first listen, most Clash fans could recognize the astonishing musical maturation that this album represented. The album opens with the apocalyptic pop title track, London Calling, and moves quickly into reggae, rockabilly, folk rock, more straight up pop and even a hint of the blues. The Clash had moved on to the new territory of postpunk, and they did it fantastically well.

Here's a good quote from Amanda Petrusich:

"The Clash are a rock band, and 1979's London Calling is their creative apex, a booming, infallible tribute to throbbing guitars and spacious ideology. " link

And another, from Adrien Begrand:

"The influence of London Calling on rock music is immeasurable. Not only did it break down barriers for punk rock, achieving mainstream success, in both the UK and North America, but it also proved that it was okay for a punk band to be great musicians, adventurous even." link

I believe in this and it's been tested by research...

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In May
lilies of the valley
bloomed beneath our
kitchen window

and my mother
would weep on
open leaves, softly
on silent white
Christmas bells,
into a forest of yawning
golden daffodils
until her tears ran
dry and the
flowers fell

and she would wait
again for spring
saving her tears for
something she loved

© 1996 Zydeco Fish

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Infrared Tree Series; High Park, 2003 (prev infrared pic)

Camera: Nikon FM, 50mm F1.8 lens
Film: Kodak HEI High Speed Infrared Film
Developer: Dektol
© 2004 Zydeco Fish

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Pop Goes the Pope

Yeah, I know - he's not dead yet. I do find it amazing that he has lived so long. After all, he has survived two assassination attempts (the most serious one in 1981). He has arthritis and Parkinson's Disease. He has had a tumour removed from his colon, dislocated his shoulder, and broken his femur. More recently, he had the influenza. What's worse, and he had to deal with all of those religious freaks treating him like a little God, or the God on earth. And now, I quote Rabelais, from Gargantua and Pantagruel (one of my all-time favourite books), Chapter 4:

(If you find this boring, please skip)

"As soon as the boat had clapped them on board, they all with one voice asked, Have you seen him, good passengers, have you seen him? Who? asked Pantagruel. You know who, answered they. Who is it? asked Friar John. 'Sblood and 'ounds, I'll thrash him thick and threefold. This he said thinking that they inquired after some robber, murderer, or church-breaker. Oh, wonderful! cried the four; do not you foreign people know the one? Sirs, replied Epistemon, we do not understand those terms; but if you will be pleased to let us know who you mean, we will tell you the truth of the matter without any more ado. We mean, said they, he that is. Did you ever see him? He that is, returned Pantagruel, according to our theological doctrine, is God, who said to Moses, I am that I am. We never saw him, nor can he be beheld by mortal eyes. We mean nothing less than that supreme God who rules in heaven, replied they; we mean the god on earth. Did you ever see him? Upon my honour, replied Carpalin, they mean the pope. Ay, ay, answered Panurge; yea, verily, gentlemen, I have seen three of them, whose sight has not much bettered me. How! cried they, our sacred decretals inform us that there never is more than one living. I mean successively, one after the other, returned Panurge; otherwise I never saw more than one at a time.

"O thrice and four times happy people! cried they; you are welcome, and more than double welcome! They then kneeled down before us and would have kissed our feet, but we would not suffer it, telling them that should the pope come thither in his own person, 'tis all they could do to him. No, certainly, answered they, for we have already resolved upon the matter. We would kiss his bare arse without boggling at it, and eke his two pounders; for he has a pair of them, the holy father, that he has; we find it so by our fine decretals, otherwise he could not be pope. So that, according to our subtle decretaline philosophy, this is a necessary consequence: he is pope; therefore he has genitories, and should genitories no more be found in the world, the world could no more have a pope.

While they were talking thus, Pantagruel inquired of one of the coxswain's crew who those persons were. He answered that they were the four estates of the island, and added that we should be made as welcome as princes, since we had seen the pope. Panurge having been acquainted with this by Pantagruel, said to him in his ear, I swear and vow, sir, 'tis even so; he that has patience may compass anything. Seeing the pope had done us no good; now, in the devil's name, 'twill do us a great deal. We then went ashore, and the whole country, men, women, and children, came to meet us as in a solemn procession. Our four estates cried out to them with a loud voice, They have seen him! they have seen him! they have seen him! That proclamation being made, all the mob kneeled before us, lifting up their hands towards heaven, and crying, O happy men! O most happy! and this acclamation lasted above a quarter of an hour."

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