Category Archives: haruspexing

Ides, veg but not vegan

Haruspex Day rolls round again and as I have no access to sacrificial oxen I was constrained to inspect a fried egg this morning.

Eve Golden in a fried egg hat (via DPLA)

Results: sunny and positive to start, wrinkly at the edges, quickly becoming a mess.

Pamphlet from the New England Fresh Egg Institute, 1942 [Univ. of South Carolina Libraries via DPLA]

The whole story in an eggshell.

Haruspex Day 2021

In Gowanus

March 15 last year I assembled a poem from scraps and read its entrails:

I predict: that things will be very confusing, even surreal. That many of us will pass through what seems like a different world, strangely collectively. That some appearances will soothe our fevers, judged by the feeling of mercury. That we may — or alternately may not — be able to bear. That some possibilities will vanish.

And lo! you can’t say I was wrong. In general I am (making my monicker ironic) a lousy foresee-er; I hate to gamble. There’s seldom enough sooth from the future to cast a fortune. Now the radio station asks its listeners for lessons learned. I guess they want cheerful ones; would they choose the gloomy? It’s to be sealed for a decade. Imagine that, it poses, and I can’t.

Tagged

Haruspex Day, COVID-19 edition

One hundred years ago on my birthday. From NYPL Collections via DPLA

DADA program, 3/27/1920

Here it is the Ides of March again and let me say I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING as of, say, December. I mean I knew things would be awful, because they have been awful for 3 1/2 years plus, and I foresaw the political season getting worse and worse (although maybe since we’re used to the pain it would be duller? We’ll see). But not a world-wrapping disease. Ach, you can hardly get good sacred bull liver nowadays.

So I thought of another mode of scrying. For the last ten days or so I’ve been following @dictionarish on Twitter. This is a neural network trained on the OED that tweets out a word or phrase (sometimes real, sometimes invented) and a definition, complete with IPA pronunciation and etymology, several times a day. They are frankly surreal. I’ve been cutting out a phrase or two and re-tweeting some of them. I took all my snipped phrases and put them together and meditated on the result.

Perhaps we have to blame not bats but camels, chickens, tigers, and trout? No, the animals are not the specified thing.

Or it’s that first man to prove tigers, somehow sorting the country’s angular plates.

But this is meant to be prophecy. So. I predict: that things will be very confusing, even surreal. That many of us will pass through what seems like a different world, strangely collectively. That some appearances will soothe our fevers, judged by the feeling of mercury. That we may — or alternately may not — be able to bear. That some possibilities will vanish.

I don’t believe in the universal incuress. I do believe I am tune-spined, miserabouring, rendezvouring by the tiger’s teeth, with rope, flour, and fish. I hope for a method of following, of solving the algebrait of the city, of passing opposite the brightest crossing to the winning season.

tune-spined
A poem of camel / a specified thing / Fever is a second world
in the winning season/ and chickens
Chosen to or above or down
the first man to prove tigers
four money / miserabouring
opposite brightest crossing / strangely collectively / spat or bottom
to the country’s angular plates
(ripes) that travelling from a building / sorted with alternate them / able to bear
the universal / incuress
analgesic appearance /with seasoning in the first size
A hasty little more / this underdriving bearer
a method of following /the algebrait of the city
withdraw a possibilitie /put an opponent to press
A feeling of mercury
Rope / flour and trout
a rendezvouring actor

Haruspex Day 2018

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, hi, augury fans! The Ides of March come again, and what has your favorite haruspex to say?

Finding myself somewhat short of sacred animals to slaughter, I took a deep look into my morning oatmeal in search of signs.  No surprise, the future looked kind of lumpy and ill-formed. Chaotic, though in a calm way. I mean, I like oatmeal!. But it doesn’t tell you much; it doesn’t give off information. The future, in oatmeal, is just a blob with some bits in it. And to tell the truth, or sooth, that’s how I do see the future — and that’s at the best: enjoyable for the moment but no through-story. At worst, it’s the burned, stuck-on, tasteless, and grim remnants of something that used to be sustaining.

Thus always to tyrants?

Lamb’s liver.

Babylonian haruspicy in comic form. By Jed McGowan in The Appendix.

Seventeen days before the kalends of April.

I missed Haruspex Day, so in recompense I offer up this post from the Getty’s excellent blog, The Iris.

As Caesar entered the Senate, he supposedly said to Spurinna, “You realize the Ides have come?” (As in, “How good a seer are you?”) Spurinna’s reply: “You realize they have not yet gone?” (As in, “Just wait!”).