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“It silted up”
Calexico, California and Mexicali, Mexico

We've been blogging for nearly 3 years now, and this is the first we've ever been tagged. The culprit is Jacky Bowring, of Passages, whose Park of the Lost Object was featured here last year.

We're only too glad to keep this going. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

From the Penguin Books 1993 revised and updated edition of Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner:

Another bypass was cut; it too silted up. Finally, after much negotiation, the developers persuaded the Mexican government to let them cut still another channel below the border. Because it was meant as a temporary expedient while the original channel was cleaned out in advance of the spring floods, the Mexican channel had the flimsiest of control gates. As luck would have it, the spring floods arrived two months early. In February, a great surge of snowmelt and warm rain spilled out of the Gila River, just above the Mexican channel, and made off with the control gate.

We fiddled with the rules a bit. We're not supposed to include the fifth (complete) sentence; we did. And we're only supposed to post the three after it; we included the fourth, because it sounds as though it's the perfect punch line to a hilarious joke about hydroengineering. So there's a total of five...or six if you count this post's title, which is actually the fourth (complete) sentence on the page.

And Cadillac Desert wasn't even the nearest book. Reisner's volume was underneath that book, which was the 2000 paperback edition of Annals of the Former World by John McPhee. However, on p. 123, this is what we found:

Annals of the Former World by John McPhee

Because we're having fun, the third book in that pile is In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles, edited by Jeffrey Miller. On page 123, the 3 sentences after the fifth are as follows:

How far is it from there? Or to somewhere nearer than that. But do be specific as to time, day period, week.

Taken out of context, this could be an instruction for a well-designed landscape architecture project.

But onward it goes. We're tagging Archidose, BLDGBLOG, Subtopia, Super Colossal and Where.

POSTSCRIPT #1: Where's page 123.

POSTSCRIPT #2: Archidose's page 123.

POSTSCRIPT #3: Subtopia's page 123.

POSTSCRIPT #4: Super Colossal's page 123.
  • menon
  • February 27, 2008 at 6:32:00 PM CST
  • But how can this radical originality be conceived of if not through reference to another origin that serves as its paradigm? On this question all the rhetorical contortions of the passage hinge: the very gesture that asserts radical originality reintroduces, through particles such as "like" or "equal to", a mimetic relationship to an anterior paradigm. Hence the denial that follows immediately upon the comparison ("but not made in its afterimage"), a denial belied by the simile that succeeds it.

    From my page 123!

  • Anonymous
  • February 28, 2008 at 1:34:00 PM CST
  • Nine to five, I'm chief of police of New Milford. All at once the bones in my legs began to go soft. I found I could no longer form a sentence without specifically addressing the muscles in my lips. (here is the fourth sentence) The barn, you see, was nothing more than a shell of boards, and no police officer standing in it could fail to spot the two green giants through the opening in the rear wall.
    Page 123, chapter on Marijuana from Michael Pollan's "The Botany of Desire"

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