LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 10 no 2, June 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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“Quotable Quotes” from Tom Robbins’ Villa Incognito

Tom Robbins’ Villa IncognitoLEAD Group President Elizabeth O’Brien recently read “Villa Incognito”, a Bantam Book, first published in 2003, and chose the following snippets for this newsletter, either because they relate in some way to lead (see bolded words below), or because she was just really impressed with them.

To understand the lead connection, you’ll need to know, for the quote from page 98 (below), that according to “Principles of clinical toxicology” (page 195) by Thomas A. Gossel and J. Douglas Bricker, CRC Press, 1994, “Calcium disodium EDTA [CaNa2-EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetate)] is the drug of choice for acute and chronic lead poisoning and lead encephalopathy. Calcium disodium EDTA increases urinary lead excretion by 20- to 50-fold.”

Permission to reprint the following quotes was kindly granted by Random House, Inc. (US) New York. [Front cover sourced from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/37/Villa_incognito_cover_photo.jpg/

Page 29: After the monkeys came down from the trees and learned to hurl sharp objects, they had had to move into caves for protection- not only from the big predatory cats but, as they began to lose their monkey fur, from the elements. Eventually, they started transposing their hunting fantasies onto cave walls in the form of pictures, first as an attempt at practical magic and later for the strange, unexpected pleasure they discovered in artistic creation.

Time passed. Art came off the walls and turned into ritual. Ritual became religion. Religion spawned science. Science led to big business. And big business, if it continues on its present mindless, voracious trajectory, could land those of us lucky enough to survive its ultimate legacy back into caves again.

Page 78: “ How then does soul differ from spirit?’ You’re probably asking yourself,” although he must have been reasonably sure nobody was. “Well, soul is darker of color, denser of volume, saltier of flavor, rougher of texture, and tends to be more maternalistic than paternalistic: soul is connected to Mother Earth, just as spirit is connected to Father Sky.

Page 80:  “They nailed him on Guam. His flight was diverted. I saw him on CNN. In handcuffs. They were hauling your stuff away. It’s been three or four days now.” In Dickie’s tone there was both the pig iron of despair and the stained glass of hysteria.

Page 98: The mystery of mayonnaise – and others besides Dickie Goldwire have surely puzzled over this - is how egg yolks, vegetable oil, vinegar (wine’s angry brother), salt, sugar (earth’s primal grin-energy), lemon juice, water, and, naturally, a pinch of the ol’ calcium disodium EDTA could be combined in such a way as to produce a condiment, to versatile, satisfying, and outright majestic that mustard, ketchup and their ilk must bow down before it (though at two bucks a jar, mayonnaise certainly doesn’t put on airs) or else slink away in disgrace. Who but the French could have wrought this gastronomic miracle? Mayonnaise is France’s gift to the New World’s muddled palate, a boon that combines humanity’s ancient instinctive craving for the cellular warmth of pure fat with the modern, romantic fondness for complex flavors: mayo (as the lazy call it) may appear mild and prosaic, but behind it’s creamy veil it fairly seethes with tangy disposition. Cholesterol aside, it projects the luster that we astro-orphans have identified with well-being ever since we fell from the stars.

Page 133: Okay, we have just passed through the Michener zone, and , assuming that narcolepsy hasn’t leadened our lids, that we’ve not been Lao-this’d and Lao-that’ed into a comatose state, we’re now in a position, as we rejoin the narrative flow, to conclude that Fan Nan Nan was a Lao Theung community. Are we not?

Page 175: There is no activity in the cosmos more unvarying, more predictable than the rate at which uranium turns into lead. That’s a good thing. If the universal clock was based on the rate at which novelty turns into routine, we might never show up at the dentist on time. Yet, sooner or later, however capriciously and imprecisely, the “oh wow” does decay into the “ho-hum”…

Page 241: The air was musky with the fate of fallen fruit and collapsing mushrooms, brisk with the historic hustle of harvest, and a flock of crows flapped through it, teasing everybody and everything with their impenetrable koans. In flight, a twitchy curve of ebony luster, they formed the false mustache of the world.

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