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The table is almost full now.  I put out only a few hundred pieces at a time.  I have whatever the reverse of a repetition syndrome is-- after I have done something a few times, I can hardly bear to continue.  But there is no hurry.  I have a piece of green felt to wrap around what I am calling my "Pluck Board."  I will organize pieces on it before placing them in the puzzle, by color, and initially by the strait edges that denote a border piece.  So far I have found two corners. I may install some sort of weighted, snake-like things around the edges of the table to keep pieces from falling off. 

If a cat should....

Well, "the horror, the horror..."


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
The student's exercise
The student, of course, is too lazy, too distracted doing things he should know better than doing. However, the student scribbles a couple of lines describing the plot, in the hope that the author, now fraught with time to spare, will pick up and develop into a full Borgean novel of non-Borgean length; They read:
There is a puzzle, brought long ago on a trip from Europe. The intention to solve it was long ago forgotten and stowed away with the puzzle in some dark corner. The author, who has just retired and burnt a slice of his savings in the purchase of George Bernard Shaw’s typewriter, with the intention of finally writing a few novels on it, finds the puzzle while clearing the room that is to serve him as writing lair. Upon rediscovery, it turns out to be somewhat of a mystery. The pieces are of unusual form, the box that contains it does not give any clues to its provenance, it seems to be a couple hundred of years old, and its motive is indiscernible. As he sets out to both tasks of writing and puzzling, he finds himself ever more absorbed by the latter task. By and by he discovers the motive, Brueghel’s “Turmbau zu Babel” and something more; The shape of the pieces seems to be not only unusual, but significant. As obsession takes control of his life, he stops paying attention to anything but the puzzle and soon finds out the meaning of the shapes: They encode a systematization of all known languages. Each piece represents a word in some specific language; its relationship to other words is determined by its position in the puzzle. Once the puzzle is assembled, it will be a perfect description of mankind’s original Adamic language, the language that reveals the nature of things simply by naming them. The puzzle must be the work of a linguist, Wilkins or some such, wrought and then hidden away for fear of the power it might convey. Realizing not only the importance, but the awkwardness of his discovery, the author decides to test the language first, lest it turns out he is the victim of an enormous joke and he disgraces himself, by writing a few chapters of “My Fair Lady” in the Adamic tongue, on the same typewriter on which it was originally typed. The task turns out to be impossible. Something is wrong, something is lacking. Perhaps the Adamic tongue can only be used in a state of innocence. Even worse, perhaps the confusion of tongues was not the device by which man was made to lose the original language but merely a symptom or a symbol of his loss; Adam’s language is lost forever and Man’s multilingual cacophony will never grasp the meaning of the world.

And also Happy new Year.
Jan. 14th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Re: The student's exercise
Stunning! You have grasped my puzzle game completely! The Adamic Tongue is something that did not occur to me, but a beautiful idea to pursue. Perhaps if our protagonist had typed Pygamalion instead of "My Fair Lady" a tragedy might have been averted? Of course, in my case, I am hoping for an explication of the tower solved, and not a duplication of the first disaster. But who knows? The pieces are almost out, and well, they typewriter is in the hands of some other lucky owner.
I do intend to make some novelistic reality/fantasy explorations while puzzling. Your response was quite thrilling-- and I admit to a few glasses of wine just previous to reading it. Still, I think I may be on to something...
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: The student's exercise
No really, I will have to credit you somewhere, sometime when some part of your scenario gets folded into some plot. And Shaw IS a good example of the tower still at work. I myself am foggy on Shaw as a whole, and if I had not actually been in the Lerner and Lowe musical adaptation of Shaw's Pygmalion, I would possibly not know about the earlier play. In fact, most of what I know of Shaw can be contained in the sentence: "He was notoriously hard to get along with, had a typewriter, and took long walks."
Shaw was quite upset that later adaptations of his play allowed Eliza Doolittle to marry Henry Higgins instead of Freddy, according to Wikipedia (another example of Babel sometimes) But all in all "My Fair Lady" having been written for the stage was not altered into a totally alien work, merely made a musical. I wonder if Shaw could sing?
Pygmalion puts us right back to the ancients though. And Shaw said that the play owed something to the legend of King Cophetua, the story where the king falls in love with a beggar woman. Ah, that's how the story got into realism and away from magic of the gods.
Odd bit in "The End of the Affair" the novel by Graham Greene pointing out why it is so hard to be a man these days:

"I don't know whether psychologists have yet named the Cophetua complex, but I have always found it hard to feel sexual desire without some sense of superiority, mental or physical."

I have a theory that everything has a Tower of Babel trope of some kind attached to it. If the tower toppled, perhaps the top would have reached to Cyprus? It could have smashed Pygmalion's statue and brought Galatea (having been trapped inside)to life. With some lightning effects? Could this have inspired Mary Shelley? HA!
Why did their son Paphos have a city named after him? What is the
purpose of the Antikythera mechanism? Tower connected.
It seems that everything is leading me to the Island of Rhodes, where the museum marvels of the ancient world were collected and displayed.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Cydonia photo: ESA

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