I have read all of Boswell's works about Samuel Johnson in my day. I have visited a number of places which the famous pair of Boswell and Johnson frequented in London, and even in Edinburgh, during their trip to Scotland. It was a multipurpose trip, since I visited the grave of Adam Smith and the Scotch whiskey museum there as well. No sense limiting oneself. Even the haggis and haddie were good.
I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it.
I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it--
"I refute it thus!"
Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson
Although Johnson's famous Mitre Tavern is no longer standing in London, the place where it had been is marked with a plaque, as these things there often are.
Even mythical places like 221B Baker Street are marked with a plaque, or at least it had been on some grotesque commercial building, until an enterprising fellow built a small Sherlock Holmes museum across the street and had the address moved. I was there when the actor Jeremy Brett, or someone who could have been his twin, was there in his Holmesian gear to hand out his card as a consulting detective. Now that's show business. There are often underemployed actors conducting marvelous themed walking tours around the town that I highly recommend. In terms of depth and quality of acting talent, London is to Hollywood what Maxim's is to McDonalds.
In addition to theatre, much of which seems to emanate from Parliament, I think plaques, pints, and dodgy financial instruments are the cottage industries that sustain the place. I used to buy my pocket calendar at The Economist every year. Do they even make such things these days? As Johnson said, "A man who is tired of London is tired of life."
And one can get a sense of Johnson's London by visiting Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, rebuilt after the great fire of 1666. And I believe that it has remained largely untouched since then by the looks of it, except for electrification. It is a nice place for a pint and steak and kidney pie, ever bangers and mash. It's the pint really. I remember going there with a friend from Philadelphia and at the bar he ordered a bottle of Rolling Rock. And at an outrageous price to boot. Really, there is no punishment worthy.
Although I have to admit, nothing can compare with a hand drawn stout in Dublin. They serve it with a certain reverence.
And there is a statue of Johnson on the Strand near Fleet Street, outside of St. Clement Danes church. I recall walking down that way, showing some co-workers from tech support around.
A young American lady engineer went up and read the placard and remarked, "Oh he was a proctologist." I tried to maintain my composure, not very well I have to admit, and said, "Leslie, I believe it says that Dr. Johnson was a philologist."
She was not pleased with my amusement. But a year or two afterwards she married an extremely wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and sent us pictures of her home on some island. And I went on to do this sort of thing, so who was the better off for all their classical education? (This is a true story, on my honor.)
Gold and silver were under pressure all day as Wall Street started gearing up for this weeks Treasury auctions, and the FOMC rate decision tomorrow at 2:15.
There is some speculation that the Bernank may increase the monthly buying of mortgage debt to 85 billion but I am not so confident about that, but it is possible.
Advance GDP for the Q3 is due out on Friday.
Don't take these jokers too seriously this week in other words. As my old grade school teacher used to say, 'Babies must play.'
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
And I'm surrounded by cement,
Say the bells of St. Clement.