Sunday, September 24, 2006

from the mixed-up files of Ms. Astrid E. Frankweiler

Did you know that people can literally die laughing? As in: they laugh so hard they get a heart attack, or asphyxiate, and there you are? It's called 'fatal hilarity', and yes, there's a Wikipedia entry on it, and no, I will not link to it, because I am feeling lazy. Anyway, I did find this handy list of Nine People Who Died Laughing, and I am still puzzled by the guy who kicked the bucket while watching A Fish Called Wanda. I mean, really? A Fish Called Wanda? Huh.

Also: I stumbled upon this incredible book of world libraries, which, if you're trying to think of a way to impress me, you should NOT buy, because I will be SO in love with this book I will feel ridiculously guilty for not having a gift for you in return. The main reason I bring this up, though, is that I heart libraries, and I heart beautiful architecture, so this unites two great loves of mine in a tidy little package of whimsy and wonderment and makes me feel as if we as a civilization must be doing something right.

To be perfectly honest, I wish I could move into these shrines to knowledge. Screw letting John/Jane Q. Public into the libraries for their pesky book reports/Nobel Prize-winning research/what-have you; I covet the glorious landmarks for myself alone. How cool would it be to have your bed in the middle of one of these airy spaces, vaulted ceilings above you, cool marble floors under your bare toes as you pad around at ungodly hours through the rare manuscripts section? Sigh.

Actually, I'm sure the reality would be rather creepy, so better to leave things as they are, and to dream. Now that I think about it, the closest I've ever gotten to the realization of this fantasy is the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, in which two kids get to camp out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This fine piece of literature was made into a lousy TV movie, but is still a brilliant, breathtaking book. Konigsburg is a terrific writer in general—she writes characters I wish I could be. Best of all, they save me the trouble of breaking into the Met, for which we should all be grateful.

1 comment:

  1. Wait a minute... So that's where Wes Anderson got the idea from in The Royal Tenenbaums. I'd call him a hack if he didn't make such kule movies.