In praise of coots
Stranded in California! Have finished Home Land and The Maltese Falcon and am halfway through The Hamilton Case -- all of these are excellent. Last night I picked up Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows, an essay of about 40 pages, and read it straight through. I first heard of it while reading the terrific In Praise of Blandness (about the sublime "bland" element in Chinese thought and aesthetics) last year; I'd also read In Praise of Slowness, a disappointing treatise-cum-self-help-book on how we should slow down and savor life. Is there a copy of In Praise of Folly somewhere in this house?
Remember the dream I had where I walked on water? Feeding bread and assorted non-bread leftovers to the birds at the manmade pond, I noticed that coots actually manage to Jesus-strut in dramatic fashion. Their strange feet are apparently adapted for this purpose. I have not seen coots flying, and wonder if they are, like hens, more or less flightless (in terms of being able to propel themselves through the air).