Tuesday, May 18, 2010

--the being taut, balanced between eternities

The newspaper accounts of tightrope walkers DeLave, Harry Leslie and Geo. Dobbs, mentioned in Book III that I can find are not as interesting as this description of a promised future event, and the aftermath of one of the DeLave walks across the falls:
"The performance was now concluded. DE LAVE gave notice of a repetition of the feat on Monday next, when he would walk with peach baskets tied to his feet, stand on his head, and perform other 'terrific feats.' A large number of pickpockets were on the ground, and one man, ISRAEL MONSON, a butcher doing business in Main-street, lost his pocket-book containing the avails of his week's business -- about $115."
In the following description of a walk by Harry Leslie (Williams found a much better one, which maybe shows how his archivalism trumps that of instant digital access), we see how his walk, the fall of Sarah Cumming, and Sam Patch's leap, all are memorialized by a "blasted pine"--an evocative image that I don't think Williams uses, perhaps because it might have resonances with the landscapes of Romanticism.

No search brings up Geo. Dobbs, except a software developer's site with a weird article titled "Dr. Dobbs: Funambulism and the Perpetual Tension of Software Development," which uses the tightrope as an extended metaphor for maintaining tension between old and new "platforms": "The innovation that will help us regain our balance as developers is not just in this deeper dive, but in treating the entire software system holistically. It won't be sufficient to just analyze the source, or the assembly process, or the tests that exercise the software. We'll control the tension with technologies that are not just process oriented (like the current ALM suite), but with tools that fundamentally understand and communicate what's happening in a software system at various stages of development. This will enable us to optimize our coding and testing to improve software quality, as well as the productivity of every developer. After that, the crowds will cheer as we reach our platform, ready for the next development challenge to present itself." Yes, but can you do it cooking an omelet, in female attire, while doing the "Washerwoman's Frolic"?

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